Anglican Church of Southern Africa to spin off Portuguese speaking dioceses into a new province

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ACSA is celebrating its 150th anniversary as a Province of the Anglican Communion with the news that dioceses in Angola and Mozambique are planning to “multiply”, with plans eventually to form a new Province.

Since Portuguese is an official language in both countries, such a development would create the Communion’s second Lusophone province, after the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil. (The Lusitanian Church in Portugal is an extraprovincial diocese under the metropolitical authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury.)

There are at present four dioceses in the two countries: one covering the whole of Angola, and three – Lebombo, Niassa and Nampula – in Mozambique.

A communique released after the February session of the Synod of Bishops said that after a comprehensive overview of these “vast” dioceses, “the vision to multiply the number of Dioceses in Angola and Mozambique was motivated with conviction.”

The communique added that the plea for expanding the number of dioceses “was enthusiastically received and endorsed by us. In time it is envisaged that growing the number of Dioceses in both areas will enable them to apply to form a united new Province.”

ACSA was formed as the Church of the Province of South Africa in 1870.

In other news from the recent Synod of Bishops:

It agreed to declare a “state of emergency” both over the scourge of gender-based violence and climate change. The bishops said both crises should be addressed urgently by putting strategic programmes in place at provincial, diocesan and parochial level.

The Synod heard from an Archbishop’s Commission on the election of women to positions in the church and noted that there is a “large number of ordained women in contrast to the few ordained women in senior positions.” The commission was set up by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba after voicing concern last year at the paucity of women nominated in recent episcopal elections.

The bishops resolved to support an initiative of Zimbabwean church leaders called the “The Final Sabbath Call”, which appeals for a moratorium on all elections to create space for “re-imagining a new future for the country and its people.” ACSA will take a number of steps including making solidarity visits to Zimbabwe.