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African Synod

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I would like to speak today from the personal blessing of having lived and served for many years within the African Church. In Africa I have recognized the holiness of the land and the presence of God in the people. There is great giftedness present in the many peoples and nations‐ a richness of faith and the blessings of a vast diversity of expressions of that faith which is a living hymn and a dance of praise to God. Africa is a sacred soil and our brothers and sisters of the African Church know well the love of our God.

But from that same sacred soil we also hear the cry of the blood. Blood shed through wars among nations, old and new colonialism, ethnic and tribal conflicts, through discriminations because of race and religion, the blood of the young orphan infected with HIV and malaria cells; the blood poured out in violence against women − especially in their own homes; the blood of the terminally poor, whose dignity cries out, seeking to be heard and recognized; the blood shed in the abuse of ruthless power, the lack of shared democracy, the unjust distribution and use of earth richness; the blood of martyrs who have sown the seeds of faith for the future Church of Africa. Like the blood of Abel (Gen 4:10), the blood soaks soil of Africa, too, calls out to God and to us.

It is this reality which rightly requires that the African Church, the family of God in Africa, be first of all, a church of “in service of reconciliation” (42). The Church must hear the cries of the blood of our African sisters and brothers‐ a blood that calls out from sacred soil and which flows and fills her cup of suffering to overflowing. The Church must be a place where the cry of the blood is not silenced or ignored, but a place where the cup of suffering can be transformed by the good news of the Precious Blood of Christ, given for the redemption of the whole world (Col 1:20).

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