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Archbishop and President Mbeki - Church and Nation 'Share Common Work'

Friday 9th March 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has heard from South African President Thabo Mbeki that Church and nation 'share common work' in relation to the Millennium Development Goals.

The two met this morning [Friday 9th March 2007] during the Archbishop's visit to South Africa. They discussed a range of subjects related to the region including the Goals, which have been a key theme of the TEAM conference (Towards Effective Anglican Mission), attended by Dr Williams, in Boxburg this week.

Following the meeting, Dr Williams said that, twenty years on from his visit to the country in the 1980s, he was delighted to see the Church playing a part in the changes that were taking place:

"This morning was a very special opportunity to discuss with President Mbeki some of the ways in which the church here in South Africa is continuing, especially at grass-roots level, to the meeting of the Millennium Development Goals, and how more effective partnership between the churches and the Government here could take forward those goals not only for the good of the country but of the whole of the continent."

"We look back on our visit here some years ago, when my wife and I did some work here for the Church, as a crucial time for us and it's been wonderful to be back in the country; to see the changes and to pick up old friendships and to make new ones."

President Mbeki welcomed Dr Williams and paid tribute to the work of the Anglican Church, both domestically and internationally in the struggle against apartheid. The relationship continued to be important for the country:

"It reinforces the message that the common work is not yet done. We continue to maintain that relationship to address the new challenges of the day."

The Archbishop travels on to Angola this afternoon.


The Anglican Communion is involved in development work through the Communion's member provinces and seeks to work with partners including programmers and donors. The Church's primary strength is its ability to deliver change on the ground at the grass roots level. Recent examples of the Church's involvements includes the Mothers' Union and UNESCO working together in the Great Lakes Region and East Africa. Fifty MU trainers were recently brought together for small business teaching and training.

In the Sudan, the Church has linked up with the World Food Programme to organise school feeding projects and small scale food distribution centres in the South and along the Upper Nile.

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