Fraternal Delegate: With Justice, Comes Peace

Methodist Archbishop Addresses Assembly

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 14, 2009 ( A leader of the Methodist Church of Nigeria addressed the episcopal assembly on Africa with a simple message: Where there is justice, peace is possible.

Archbishop Michael Kehinde Stephen of Ibadan said this Tuesday at the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. The archbishop spoke as a fraternal delegate to the assembly.

During his address, Stephen spoke directly to the theme of the synod, “The Church in Africa in Service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace.” The assembly concludes Oct. 25.

“When the issues of reconciliation, justice and peace are addressed with all sincerity of purpose, as it appears to be the purpose for this gathering,” the archbishop said, “then the Church exemplifies itself as a living body in service to all of humanity and the entire creation.”

“The issue of justice is of, particular interest,” he continued. “I believe true justice is demonstrated when ministers and leaders speak out against evil, without regard to personal gain or loss.

“Shepherds, both clergy and laity, are responsible for exercising justice in the Church. This is particularly needed in Africa today.”

“Where there is justice,” he added, “peace is possible, and this allows for the fullness of the image of God to be revealed through the Holy Spirit’s ongoing work of sanctification.”

Stephan concluded by recalling that “it is always good and pleasant when kindred live together in unity.”

“May the outcome of this deliberation,” he added, “draw us together in service to reconciliation, justice and peace in Africa and the entire world.”

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