Bishop of Natal calls for ‘Eco-Diocese’

2009-10-12 00:00

THE Anglican Bishop of Natal, Bishop Rubin Phillip, has challenged the political leaders of the province to work with leaders of the Kennedy Road community in Durban to solve the current problems in the informal settlement.

“We call on the political leadership of KZN to acknowledge the legitimacy of Abahlali baseMjondolo as a democratically elected, non-aligned movement of the people and work with them and not against them,” he said.

Two people were killed in violence recently, several hundred were displaced and Abahlali leaders went into hiding after their homes were destroyed.

Phillip was speaking at the opening of the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Natal that took place over the weekend at the Cathedral of the Holy Nativity in the city. The gathering is held every two to three years. It was attended by about 300 people, including more than 150 representatives from congregations and about 100 clergy.

The Diocese of Natal covers the western, central and southern parts of KZN, including Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

The other diocese in this province, the Diocese of Zululand, covers the northern and eastern areas.

Commenting on the theme of the Synod, “Living the hospitality of God”, Phillip challenged participants to do this in several areas, including reaching out to the poor and marginalised like the Kennedy Road settlement and people living with HIV and Aids, and caring for the environment.

Phillip said that HIV and Aids continued to “play havoc” in the province and commended the Premier, Dr Zweli Mkhize, for “the outstanding leadership that he is giving, not only to the province but to the country as a whole in addressing this problem.”

On the environment, the Synod passed a motion to work at becoming an “Eco-Diocese” that “uses its resources in an ecologically-sustainable way and makes its members aware of their responsibility for creation in its educational processes”.

Recognising that creation is God’s gift that requires a faith response, the motion called on churches to become eco-congregations that cut down on their carbon emissions, establish environmental committees and work for environmental justice.

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