From September 9-13 2013, the World Methodist Council gathered together from throughout the globe in the cradle of Methodism, Wesley’s Chapel. What follows are highlights of the meeting.
“You haven’t come to visit, you have come home.” With these words of Lord Leslie Griffiths, Minister of Wesley’s Chapel welcomed more than 250 delegates from 36 countries as the World Methodist Council gathered in London. The Historic Chapel would inspire our work. It is where John Wesley lived and preached, where in 1881 the World Methodist Council came into being, and where the vision of a ‘Worldwide Parish’ was born.
The Council received three new member Churches, the Uniting Church in Sweden and the Free Methodist Churches in both Rwanda and The Congo bringing the number of member churches to 80.
General Secretary Ivan Abrahams challenged ‘…the Council to be a spiritual and moral force in the Wesleyan family and in the world.’
Every Council delegate serves on a Standing Committee. From the significant time set aside for committees to meet reports were made to the Council. Some highlights of the committee meetings are:
Affiliates to the Council also reported:
A common recurring thread in Committee reports was the need to increasingly use e-mail and virtual meetings to involve more people, more easily share information and reduce costs. Our work was also inspired and enabled by phenomenal worship.
The Methodist Peace award for 2013 was awarded to Marion and Anita Way. Missionaries in Angola and Brazil, the citation noted, “In 54 years of continuous service the couples work helped more than 15,000 children and 45,000 families, and more than 100,000 through the outreach that their organisations conduct”. Sadly Marion died in May 2013, but Anita was present to receive the medal, citation and cheque for US$1000.
All the work of the Council had a future focus, but there was a particular emphasis on the World Methodist Conference which will meet in Houston Texas from August 31st to September 4th 2016. The theme: One, One people, One Faith, One table, One Lord Jesus. Sarah Wilkie programme coordinator asked, “what is the dish you will bring to the table”, requesting member churches to suggest workshop leaders, speakers, and other key participants who can inspire.
As delegates left Wesley’s Chapel they must walk past the Statue of Wesley. On the plinth the words ‘The World is my Parish” are engraved. With this in mind Lord Griffiths challenged. “Go from this place to change the world in the Spirit of Christ”