The Mamas Lead the Way
We have been visiting St. Frumentius Anglican Theological College in Gambella, Ethiopia, in the southwestern part of the country near the South Sudanese border. This new school was founded by Bishop Grant and Wendy LeMarquand, who visited the diocese several years ago. It is a region that has received 400,000 refugees from across that border in recent years, and one still sees numerous UN vehicles. As a result, tribes that have been traditional rivals live cheek to jowl.
As a result, the school has to teach more than just the usual historical, theological, and Biblical topics. It has has to prepare students to be witnesses and leaders in inter- tribal reconciliation. This is not extraneous to the Gospel, nor is it so far from our own context.
The late afternoon we arrived there was a church potluck, African-style for members of the Mothers' Union from two tribes in conflict. When it was done they walked home to their respective parts of the town singing. They could do so because they shared a deeper identity in Jesus Christ. It may seem like a normal thing, but actually brave and ground breaking. It was not the first time the Mothers' Union have been the evangelists and the forerunners for Christ’s peace. It made me realize what a great setting the college is for theological teaching and learning.