Archbishop Thabo calls for prayers for peace, fasting, and indaba over Ukraine crisis.
I am writing to you from New York, where I will attend today the Institution of the Revd Phil Jackson, the new Rector of Trinity Church Wall Street, the original Anglican parish on the island of Manhattan. Tomorrow, on Transfiguration Sunday, I will preach at Trinity before returning home for Ash Wednesday.
Trinity have booked me into a hotel close to the church and overlooking the site of the World Trade Centre, the destruction of which turned parish life upside down on and in the months that followed the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Looking out of my hotel window, it is misty, cold and rainy. Through the rain I can see the man-made waterfalls which plunge into the twin pools of the 9/11 Memorial, two dark pits left by the destruction of the twin towers and what they represented. As I contemplate the scene, I share a prayer for those who died, those who suffered and those who are still suffering because of those attacks and because of what precipitated them.
Turning to the television, I watch CNN and see the coverage of the devastation in Ukraine as well as the mental and psychological devastation of Russia. I shiver at the prospects of fighting on the site of the Chernobyl former nuclear plant, where already military hardware is reported to be releasing radioactive dust into the air.
As the world watches, we too share in the devastation, ultimately helpless to act in the face of more destruction and more death, able to respond only with rhetoric. I pray for Ukraine and Russia and in particular all their people. Surely we need a high-level peace initiative? A ceasefire? Dialogue? And in the worldwide church we need an indaba theology, an ubuntu ethic, and action based on indaba and ubuntu to inform our interventions to end this sad war and the frightening prospect of nuclear escalation.
I support Pope Francis’s call for prayer and fasting on Ash Wednesday, and I call on Anglicans across Southern Africa to pray for Ukraine and Russia, to join others in praying, and to join calls for real indaba for the sake of those who suffer.
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba
26 February 2022