The Archbishop of Canterbury is to visit South Africa and Angola as part of a visit to the Anglican Province of Southern Africa next week - 5th - 13th March 2007.
The visit, announced in the Archbishop's Presidential Address to the Church of England's General Synod on Monday, will take in a special Anglican Communion Conference on the church's contribution to achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals in South Africa, as well as a visit to Angola.
The TEAM conference (Towards Effective Anglican Mission) is being held near Johannesburg. It is being hosted by the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Njongonkulu Ndugane, and brings together those working from the church to end the scandal of extreme poverty, stop the spread of HIV and ensure proper care and treatment of those affected by the virus. Around 350 people are expected to attend from across the Anglican Communion to discuss how the church can do more as one of the world's largest grass roots development networks.
A key theme is the Christian faith as a powerful component in the transformation of motivation needed to end poverty and face the issues of climate change both in the affluent North and global South. "It is upon the grass roots delivery networks of the churches in Africa that achieving the millennium development goals will depend, to a very great extent", Rowan Williams said.
The Archbishop will preach at a service in Tsakana and give a keynote address at the Conference on Wednesday (7th March) on the biblical principles for social activism and programmes by the church.
On Friday 9th March Archbishop Williams will travel to the recently-inaugurated diocese of Angola. Whilst in the country he will dedicate two schools, attend a service in a football stadium in Uige, visiting a shrine in memory of clergy and others killed during the struggle for independence from Portugal and in the subsequent civil war.
Dr Williams will see at first hand development and human rights work being undertaken in conjunction with the church. He will meet government and non-governmental leaders as well as those working to encourage better human rights and a wider civil society in a country emerging from the effects of decades of civil war.
Rowan Williams said the visit would be vital in coordinating what the churches of the Anglican Communion had to offer:
"The TEAM meeting represents the best opportunity Anglicans will have in the coming year to put the extraordinary human resources of our Communion at the service of the most vulnerable in our world and our own local communities. Angola is one of the youngest and most vulnerable of our Anglican churches. The new diocese of Angola is growing rapidly and is engaged both in active development work and in a fast-expanding programme of primary evangelisation. I am hoping to hear at first hand of their experience, see some of the aid and development work that they are involved with and take them encouragement from their brothers and sisters across the Anglican Communion."