The role of the church as champion of the marginalised was put in the spotlight by the district bishop, Rev. Lesiba Nkhumise, during the 137th annual district synod in the Aliwal North circuit.The synod was held under the theme “A Churchless Mission, A Missionless Church, Igniting Mission”. The reverend used the platform and set the tone for the synod by delivering the opening address and challenged Methodists in the district to break barriers by crossing the street and embracing their neighbours as part of engaging in mission.In celebrating the 200 years of the Methodist Church’s existence, a plaque was unveiled at the Nomzamo Church where the synod was held.He emphasised the fact that a missionless church that does not have the impact of hosting the community is a dead church.“The church is a church when it exists for others. We do not exist for ourselves.”Nkhumise used the example of a coastal town that built a lighthouse in an effort of working in unity.“It is alleged that a community living in a coastal town, where there were a lot of ships crashing, started a lighthouse service with the intention of finding a solution to alleviate the accidents. Ever since they started out, the accidents decreased in the process. They came up with the idea of registering members for services. Somehow that also helped, as the number of accidents decreased, because in cases of an accident, where they are supposed to assist, they would first want to know whether you were a member.”He further condemned the actions of congregations which he described as devouring one another.Illustrating current affairs around the world, the bishop said that situations such as this is captured well by the hymnist who sings “Master, the tempest is raging”.He expressed that in this tempest that is raging, the church needs a voice like the one of Zedekiah, who asked Jeremiah in his quietness at a difficult time: “Is there no word from the Lord?” Jeremiah answered: “There is.” (Jeremiah 37:17)Illustrating the disconnectedness of the church role, a call was further made to fulfill its role of standing in the gaps instead of fighting in the gaps.The synod also saw the re-election of Nkhumise for the second term to the office of the district bishop with a resounding vote.The district secretary position was given to Rev. Roland Greenland, of which the synod expressed clear confidence in his ability to administer the affairs of the district.