Within the leadership component, HOPE Africa aims to develop and strengthen the leadership capacity within the Church and its leaders. By using the Poverty and development Course HOPE Africa as a capacity development tool for the church leadership, it will assist Leaders through learning in advocacy, public policy engagements and broader developmental principles and practices.
In April, HOPE Africa was able to put together an introductory training programme for the bishops of Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) on the Poverty and Development Course (PDC) in Johannesburg. The invitation was extended to the all bishops of ACSA but those that were able to attend the training came from the following dioceses: Lesotho, Swaziland, Saldanha Bay, Port Elizabeth, Namibia, Mpumalanga, Matlosane, Kimberley and Kuruman, Grahamstown, George, Johannesburg, False Bay, Table Bay, Angola and Zululand. The Provincial Executive Officer, Canon Rob Butterworth, was also part of the delegation attending the training.
HOPE Africa has embarked on a programme of introducing the course content to the bishops so that they have first-hand appreciation of the content of the course and what it aims to achieve, as well as to secure support for PDC. This process also gave bishops the chance to raise any concerns, air their views and make comments on the course.
The PDC has the potential to unleash a sustained socio-economic development ministry across ACSA that will see the church consolidate its role as a strategic partner in socio-economic development.
The bishops were introduced to two of the four modules of the PDC: Local Community Development and Theology and Development.
The bishops engaged with enthusiasm on the Local Community Development module, and small group discussions were a good platform for their in-depth discussions. The groups discussed the material thoroughly and raised some important questions.
The bishops showed genuine interest in the module and appreciated its relevance and the insight it provides, while relating to the issues raised – and recognising the importance of disseminating similar knowledge in their dioceses.
Prof. Steve De Gruchy of UKZN, facilitator of the Theology and Development module, introduced the bishops to some of the current theological discourses locally and internationally. It is important for bishops and all clergy persons to keep abreast of theological debates –particularly those pertaining to development and relevant to our context. De Gruchy also explained the rationale behind module 1 and the importance of understanding and acting on the MDGs.
The bishops appreciated the opportunity to also get training on PDC, and they have committed their support to the course. They unanimously agreed that there should be training on the last two modules and that more time should be allocated for the training.