Celebrations as Angola becomes a new Anglican diocese
Images in slideshow: 1) Bishop Rob, Bishop Andre (the new Bishop of Angola) and Archdeacon John. 2) ALMA partner Archdeacons (Hampstead & Luanda North). 3) Bishop Rob signing the paperwork. 4, 5 & 6) Celebrating the new diocese at the conference centre in Luanda
“Come, O long-expected Jesus,
born to set your people free”
The beginning of Advent in 2019 was marked by the Diocese of Angola with a joyful and hopeful gathering of some 3,000 church members in a conference centre in Luanda. The most Reverend Dr Thabo Cecil Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town and metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, presided and blessed the creation of the diocese of Angola. He also licensed and installed the Rt Revd Andre Soares as her bishop.
The roots of the Anglican diocese of Angola can be traced back almost one hundred years to the English missionary Archibald Patterson. After years of civil war in Angola (1975 – 2002), the Anglican church has been a key player in helping re-build the country’s shattered infrastructure.
The Church of the Province of Southern Africa (CPSA) began plans to establish a new diocese in the war-torn country in 1995 when the Church’s provincial synod adopted a resolution to create a missionary diocese in Angola.
This indeed was a long expected moment. Amidst the reality of the struggle of life in Angola, the freedom that Jesus brings to his faithful people was celebrated over a joyous two days. Bishop Robert, who is chair of ALMA (Angola London Mozambique Association), and Archdeacon John were able to attend the celebration. They took the opportunity to visit some of the churches and local educational and health projects that are a mark of the churches mission in some of the poorest communities that make up the city of Luanda.
Bishop Robert joined in a ceremony to bless the church land in Luanda, where the new Anglican Cathedral will be built. The Archbishop of Cape Town blessed the boundary, laid the foundation stone and named the Cathedral St Andrew the Apostle on St Andrew’s day. Soil from the site will be taken back to Angola’s partner Diocese of London.
Bishop Robert brought greetings from the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd and Rt Hon Sarah Mullally, and spoke of the importance of partnership in a shared goal of proclaiming the gospel. He reminded those present that there were willing parishes who would like to partner with the work of parishes in Angola and that now is the time to seek to increase the number of such link parishes.
The Rev’d Maria Domingos is the link officer for ALMA. She said the church is maintaining its focus despite hardships, poverty and many health challenges including malaria, HIV/AIDS and TB. In reflecting on the events of Advent Sunday she said:
“This is a significant challenge that has required hard work and dedication, both on the part of local priests and local evangelism groups, often working in remote areas without transportation. But we have seen growth, with the creation of many new congregations.
We now have congregations in areas where the church did not exist before. There is hope.”