IMBISA hosts a successful theological reflection meeting on the Synodal process

The Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa, “IMBISA”, gathered at Europrime Hotel in Boksburg, Johannesburg, from the 8th to the 11th November 2022. Invited were the theologians from the IMBISA Region. The purpose for this physical meeting was to have a concluding workshop of virtual theological reflections. The Director of the IMBISA secretariat, Fr Rafael Sapato, in his opening address stated that the intention of meeting is to discuss and draw a conclusion of the theological reflections that were done virtually by different theologians in the region. This will then be followed by the publication of those reflections.

The workshop was officially opened by Fr Rafael Sapato the Director of IMBISA Secretariat. In attendance were Bishop John Selemela the Auxiliary Bishop of Pretoria, 10 Priests, 2 Sisters and 4 lay people from the English-speaking conferences of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Namibia and Botswana; and Portuguese-speaking conferences of Mozambique, Angola and Sao Tome and Principe.

The two-day workshop began by a presentation from Sr Olga Jose Massango FSP on how to publish a book. The theme for the presentation was FROM WEBINARS TO BOOK PUBLISHING: EDITORIAL POLICY AND PROCESS IN A SYNODAL CHURCH, Sr Olga went through the whole process of publishing a book and this was to assist the theologians in IMBISA Region who have the aim of putting all their reflections in a form of a book.

The second phase of the workshop was to summarise all the presentations and pick out the main issues to be presented to SECAM. Topics covered were:

  • Co-Responsible in Mission. (Bishop John Selemela, SABC);
  • Church-Family and the Pastoral Care of “Single Mothers.” (Fr. Rafael Sapato IMBISA Secritariat);
  • A Description of Syn-Hodos in some Ecumenical relations of the Diocese of Oudtshoorn. (Fr. Enrico Parry, SABC);
  • The Synodal Journey of the Diocese of Benguela (1997-2002) in the light of the Synod (2021-2023). (P. Jose Brinco CEAST);
  • Where is your (Sister)? God asked, women’s voices and the 2023 Synod. (Dr Nontando Hadebe, SABC);
  • The fellow Travellers, Borders, Migration and Identities: Foreigners or Tourists? (Sr Ester Lucas, CEM)
  • Listening with open minds and Heart: The Contribution of the African Palaver to the Process of Preparing the Synod on Synodality. (Fr Jose Joaquim Comboni Missionary – Mozambique)
  • Wiwanana’s virtue (Listening to oneself) as the path of the Communion Church. (Celestino Victor Mussomar).

What emerged strongly was the importance of writing a book with all the Theological Reflections presented and this book will be very useful to our Bishops and the entire Imbisa Region. The following resolutions were made:

  1. We selected three auditors for compiling the book for editing
  2. A deadline was made for 31 January 2023 for editing the text by the authors
  3. The summaries for the eight presentations will be submitted to SECAM
  4. Other new themes are welcome to keep our group active