Strengthening communion relations in Africa

Delegation observes flood site at Mekane Yesus Seminary. All Photos: Refilwe Mofulatsi/LUCSA, Zacharia Osanga/ELCT
Delegation observes flood site at Mekane Yesus Seminary. All Photos: Refilwe Mofulatsi/LUCSA, Zacharia Osanga/ELCT

Church leaders gather to reflect on being church during difficult times in Africa

(LWI) - An extended Lutheran Council in Africa (LUCA) consultation held by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) from 22-25 October in Ethiopia, reflected on common concerns in the Africa region particularly the church’s role in the public space during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and other tragedies.

Guided by the theme, “Being the church in the times of COVID-19,” forty-four participants from LWF member churches in Africa convened to address how churches might practice meaningfully mission during all pandemics through prayer, emergency response, diakonia, advocacy and accompaniment.

One of the ways in which the LWF continues to foster relationships with churches across the communion is by providing spaces for dialogue, learning, sharing and empowering churches as they call on governments to protect the most vulnerable and insist on access to vaccines.

“It is very encouraging to see church leaders' commitment in coming together to discuss and discern the mechanisms of expressing their common vocation in the mission and to be relevant even in challenging times like COVID-19,” Rev. Dr Elieshi Mungure LWF Regional Secretary for Africa said.

The consultation, which is an extension of a larger leadership conference held online in September, was hosted by The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY).

Rev. Dr Chad Rimmer, LWF Program Director for Identity Communion and Formation and Mr. Isaiah Toroitich, LWF Head of Global Advocacy led a Bible study and a presentation on advocacy during the gathering.

In order to counter misleading theologies, the delegates committed to finding ways to engage their congregations in text studies that reinforce the holistic mission of the LWF.

Forty-four participants from LWF member churches in Africa convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to address how churches might practice meaningfully mission.

Common initiatives

The consultation recognized the specific challenges of the region, denouncing gender-based violence, human trafficking, famine and food insecurities, and the impact of global warming on Africa.

Delegates of the LUCA consultation visited the Mekane Yesus Seminary (MYS) which was devastated by flash floods in August that killed 8 adults and children and destroyed seminary property at its Addis Ababa campus.

Reaffirming its call to be church and speak as church during these difficult times the delegation resolved to act as a prophetic voice regionally and globally.

During the consultation a farewell service was held to honor former LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge who concluded his term as general secretary in October.

LWF/A.Gray