In its annual general meeting which took place from the 28th to 31st March 2022 the Leadership Conference of Consecrated Life of Southern Africa elected the following members to the new Executive Committee:
Fr Siphelele Gwanisheni OFM – President, Sr Stephany Thiel OP Newcastle – Vice President
The Executive Members are Sr Mary McAteer MSA, Sr Boitumelo Matlhabe SC, Sr Letta Mosue SSB, Sr Charity Zulu OSB, Br Hippolyte Manirakiza FC, Fr Michael Ndau SAC, Fr Donal Sweeney OFMCap, Fr Bonaface Kamushishi OSB. The executive committee of the LCCL is elected every two years.
The theme for the meeting was listening, in line with the first stage of the Synod on Synodality which is currently still of the listening phase. It was on the second day that they focused on listening attentively to the person, so as to hear what someone is trying to say. On the same day they dealt with listening generatively in a group, so the conversation becomes co-creative. On the third day attention was shifted to listening openly to marginalised voices, so as to become a Synod-styled Church. In the afternoon of the third day they focused on listening to ourselves and to our times to help empower others through listening leadership, and to lead change and embrace new realities.
Archbishop Mandla Jwara, their Liaison Bishop to the SACBC, gave an address on the final day of the meeting. The Archbishop expressed his gratitude to God for enabling members to finally meet in person after two years of online meeting due to covid. Archbishop Jwara applauded the executive committee for the manner in which they presented their reports and the manner in which the work is really shared among the members, taking the load off the president. The Liaison Bishop also encouraged members to be involved in ecumenism efforts of the Church.
At the meeting it was suggested to the members, among other things, take up and spread the call to become a listening Church, meaning to recognise and honour the Pope’s call to Synodality as wider than participation in the current Synodal process – a new way of being Church. It was also suggested to encourage members to use their opportunities to promote family life because their ministries provide many such opportunities, and anything done to build up family life and the domestic Church deepens and enriches the life of the Church as a whole.
To the executive committee it was suggested the possibilities for an LCCL response to the current Ukraine situation and to other war situations, especially in Africa.
“We note that the Ukranian situation is of paramount concern for all of us since it could give rise to a nuclear war. However, we feel all the war-torn areas of our worldwide community need prayer and our concern.” To the committee it was also suggested that they need to collaborate more clearly with the SACBC, so as to be perceived as complementing its efforts, not duplicating them.