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M. Jenkins: Address to Africa Summit

Address to Africa Summit 2018, Cape Town, South Africa, Nov. 21–25, 2018


Greetings to all delegates here for the Africa summit. Thank you, Chief Mandela and Dr. Moon for guiding us through this process of bringing unity for the benefit of all people. Thank you, Dr. Walsh, and all of UPF for these excellent conferences.

I was in Senegal last January, and I saw the dialogue grow into friendships and then working relationships between members of parliaments, not only from Africa but from the East and the West. Also, religious leaders coming together is something that's very crucial and a unique aspect of these conferences because it helps to establish the role of faith leaders in securing the support of the people of each nation for deliberations in their parliaments and for the national leaders.

I want to thank President Ramaphosa and also Speaker Mbete for both of them giving us a warm welcome to South Africa.

The Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD) is a gathering of faith leaders throughout the world in all nations and continents. It was founded in November 2017 in Korea.  It was a very tense moment when IAPD was founded, and I know some of the delegates here were there with us in Korea. One president was threatening that fire and fury would come to the Korean Peninsula. The other leader of the North was responding that his nuclear weapons could hit California. It was a very tense moment.

IAPD was founded there. Eighty-thousand people gathered in the World Cup Stadium, and 400 religious leaders from Africa and throughout the world, including also people of faith and members of Parliament, came together in that stadium and prayed. We saw that with our own eyes. People throughout the world, especially people who were there in Korea, had an experience in which they saw that God does govern human affairs.  The talk of fire and fury and nuclear war changed into a dialogue.

We still need to work at it very carefully, but that's why we are here today. We are very grateful to have this kind of summit. In the precursors to UPF, in many trips to the Middle East and throughout the world, we had dialogue among all religions. There is no question that religious leaders are essential in deliberations for states and for parliaments.

Why? Because politics has a very definitive role to govern, to develop, to legislate, and to finance all the things that are needed for the security, safety, education and development of the people. However, when there is a political impasse, it clearly creates a situation in which dialogue is no longer possible. A tense situation can develop very rapidly in politics. Either you agree or you don't agree, and sometimes no compromise is possible. That can lead to very violent actions.

However, we found in the Middle East, even in the most tense times between the actors there, Israel and Palestine and all the different nations, Jordan and so forth, the role of religious leaders was never stopped or blocked. If there is an appreciation and genuine belief that God created all parts of our family then religious leaders can keep the dialogue going, even at the most tense times. We found that to be true everywhere. That's why faith leaders have a very serious role today in opening up dialogue, especially when there is tension. Also, traditional African leaders are part of that kind of tradition of culture and faith.

One thing I would like to finally say is that one thing I have learned is that, as the Scriptures say, “In my father's house there are many mansions.” It’s not easy for Christians to really come to believe that those mansions include every religion. But through my experience with UPF and Dr. Moon, I have come to understand that God has many efforts that are ongoing in the world through Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Judaism, all the world religions. If I didn't mention yours, forgive me; I do believe that God is instituting efforts through all of our faith traditions.

But we cannot just tolerate each other. Although tolerance is very crucial, that will not bring us together. If we tolerate one another and yet in our hearts we still believe the other religion or other faith community is not with God or not part of our family, then we can't have peace. Therefore, we have to move beyond tolerance to acceptance. We have to understand that God is bigger than just one religion. God is the author and the creator of all of us, and God is the author of peace.

I am very grateful to be here. Thank you, Mr. Wakhisi, for allowing me to share something. The Scripture says, “Not by might and not by power, but by my Spirit, sayeth the Lord.” The Spirit of love is in this place. Thank you.



To go to the 2018 Africa Summit Schedule page, click here.