On May 7, Dr. Wendy LeMarquand was a awarded an honorary degree, Doctor of Sacred Letters, honoris causa, by Wycliffe College, an Anglican theological college in the University of Toronto. This degree was awarded in recognition of Wendy’s work among the Mothers’ Union of Gambella in the Episcopal Area of the Horn of Africa during the time when Mama Wendy and her husband, Bishop Grant, were living in Ethiopia. Much of Mama Wendy’s time in Gambella was devoted to helping the Mothers’ Union leaders to learn basic ideas about health, which could save the lives of their children. Women learned stories about malaria, nutrition, clean water and other basic information. These stories were then brought to many local villages and to refugee camps around the Gambella region. Many children’s lives were saved through this programme. Although Bishop Grant and Dr Wendy had to leave the Horn of Africa because of Wendy’s health, the programme she started is on-going and is now completely African led.
In addition to receiving this honor from Wycliffe College, Dr. LeMarquand was also the Convocation speaker. In her speech, Dr. Wendy started by thanking Wycliffe for considering work done with the poor as “theology put into practice”. Then, Dr. LeMarquand spoke a bit about her ministry in Gambella, which exceeded 5 years, to give the audience a glimpse of life in Ethiopia. She explained the generosity of the Ethiopians, who share the little they have with the new refugees from South Sudan, who had no warning of war possibility due to lack of telecommunications. Dr. Wendy also emphasized that the rate of unemployment reaches 90%; one employee would usually supports 16 adults, plus children. “To many visitors, joy on their faces stands out the most, especially during worship” Said Dr. Wendy, who reasoned, “As they know, they are loved; suffering doesn’t destroy their joy”. “Most countries have many dioceses, our diocese has many countries” Dr. LeMarquand said about our diocese, which embraced all the work being done in the Gambella region. Later, Dr. Wendy spoke about her programme, which rescued 50 babies a year by teaching the uneducated mothers stories about primary health concepts, saving them from the witch doctor methods that lead to death of children, and followed by coffee ceremony made by the Ethiopian ladies to reach their friends. Dr. Wendy LeMarquand concluded her speech with the need of a “Biblical Worldview” for effective healing to take place. Her full address can be viewed below.