Ndungane announces retirement

The following are excerpts from a statement by Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of South Africa

This year is my 10th year as Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa. Apart from the first three Anglican Archbishops of Cape Town, who presided over the formation of our church, all my other predecessors have taken on this role for a maximum of 10 years. It is an extremely demanding position with many wide-ranging responsibilities and although, according to the canons of our church, I could continue to fill it until I am 70, I have decided that the time is coming for me to step down.

It is my intention therefore to retire in 2008. This year will be a significant one in the life of our church. It is the 160th anniversary of the Diocese of Cape Town and also the year in which the Lambeth Conference is due to be held again. The Lambeth Conference is a meeting of all bishops in the worldwide Anglican Communion which takes place once every 10 years.

After consultation with the bishops of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa last week, and with the senior clergy of the Diocese of Cape Town yesterday, I have determined that this transition needs to be as orderly and as easy for my successor as we can make it. The Anglican Church in Southern Africa is a big ecclesiastical province and this, in itself, presents many challenges. It consists of 26 dioceses in six countries and on one island.

The election of a successor will take place during the course of 2007. He or she will act with me as coadjutor until my retirement. This will allow time for training, mentoring and understanding the Archbishop’s ministry. It will also give me the opportunity to introduce whoever follows me not only to fellow leaders of the Anglican Communion at the Lambeth meeting but also to other faith leaders. We believe that this will be a useful preparation for my successor as he or she will then be in a position to carry forward all decisions made at Lambeth.

Happily for me, there is life after being an Archbishop and there are many projects I wish to pursue once I have retired. I will continue my interest in issues of development. More specifically I intend to continue my involvement with the African Monitor – the stand-alone body I have set up to monitor donor funding and the use of that funding in Africa.

Teaching and sharing my experience with young ordinands at theological colleges as well as doing some more writing would also be on my ‘to-do’ list.

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