A South African woman has been elected as the second female Anglican bishop in Africa. Canon Margaret Vertue, the senior priest in a diocese which includes most of the poorer suburbs of greater Cape Town, was elected bishop of the Diocese of False Bay on Wednesday (3 October).
The second of two women elected to the episcopacy in recent months, Canon Vertue was one of the two first woman priests to be ordained in Cape Town by Archbishop Desmond Tutu 20 years ago.
Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said, ‘I am absolutely delighted that the Revd Canon Margaret Vertue has been elected the next Bishop of the Diocese of False Bay’.
‘Margaret was my junior when we were both training for ordination at the College of the Transfiguration – then St Paul’s, and I have worked closely with her on the board of HOPE Africa. She is well known, respected, and liked throughout Southern Africa, and we thank God for this new chapter in her life and ministry, and the life of False Bay Diocese.’
Canon Vertue will replace Bishop Merwyn Castle. The Archbishop learnt the news while attending the Anglicans Ablaze conference in Johannesburg, the largest gathering from across the whole Anglican Church of Southern Africa in living memory.
She and the Revd Ellinah Ntombi Wamukoya, bishop-elect of Swaziland, are scheduled to be consecrated as bishops together by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, head of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, in the coming months.
The Archbishop of Cape Town said ‘In the last few months, we have had four episcopal elections, electing two women and two men. It seems the Holy Spirit is not finished with us, but is taking us further onwards into this new stage of our Church’s life. We give great thanks to God.’
The Venerable Steve Moreo will succeed Bishop Brian Germond in the Diocese of Johannesburg, and the Revd Steven Letloenyane will follow Bishop Paddy Glover in the Diocese of the Free State. They, and Canon Vertue, will be consecrated in early 2013.