WORLD METHODIST COUNCIL STATEMENT ON VOLCANIC ERUPTION NEAR KINGDOM OF TONGA

The World Methodist Council (WMC), a body representing more than 80 million people called Methodist in 134 countries, pray with the WCC, other people of faith and no-faith, to respond to the needs of the people of Tonga and its surrounding islands as they seek to recover from the devastation and disaster of the tsunami and effects of the eruption of an underwater volcano, the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai. On 15th January 2022, the volcano erupted, spewing forth an ash plume almost 20km high. The eruption was the largest Tonga and the world has faced in 30 years, creating tsunami alerts as far as Australia and New Zealand.

The WMC affirms the World Council of Church’s assurance that our solidarity and prayers will be ongoing as the Kingdom of Tonga seeks to cope with the aftermath of the tsunami. The WMC affirms reports that the government of the Kingdom of Tonga has reacted swiftly, deploying a naval vessel to the Ha’api islands carrying the World Health Organization (WHO) trained Tonga Emergency Medical Assistance Team (TEMAT) to help treat any people who may have been injured. An advisory has been issued to the Tongan public to remain indoors, use masks if going out, and drink bottled water to avoid the consequences of the ash fall.

The WMC General Secretary, Bishop Ivan Abrahams, recognizes that the United Nations has been working to support the Tonga government’s response since the eruption occurred. “We give thanks that WHO’s Country Liaison Officer for Tonga, Dr. Yutaro Setoya, played a critical role in channeling communication between UN agencies and the Tongan government, and between the UN and their staff in Tonga,” said Abrahams. With international phone lines and internet connectivity downed, Dr. Setoya’s satellite phone was one of the few ways to get information into and out of the country. Setoya reported that around 100 houses had been damaged and 50 destroyed just on the main island of Tongatapu. Two deaths have been reported to date.

The WMC notes that the UN’s emergency response is coordinated via the Pacific Humanitarian Team (PHT), which brings together United Nations agencies, the Red Cross movement, and international non-governmental organizations to organize in-country and remote support to the Tongan government’s response efforts. The PHT’s initial focus is on supporting the re-establishment of communications, finding ways to bring in relief supplies, and providing technical advice on a range of issues, such as ensuring the safety of ash-affected drinking water.  While we remain thankful that all health facilities on Tongatapu are fully functioning and clean-up efforts have been initiated, we await information on the degree of destruction still being gathered. The Ha’apai and Vava’u island groups, for example, remain out of contact with the capital. There are particular concerns about the smaller and low-lying islands of Mango and Fonoi in the Ha’apai group.

GLOBAL PRAYER IN A TIME OF THE KINGDOM OF TONGA IN THE FACE OF VOLCANIC ERUPTION.

God of goodness and love, we have been taught to rely on you for our every provision in times of need: have mercy on all who are faced with fear, terror, and distress in this time of the volcanic eruption, flood, and ash poisoning in the Kingdom of Tonga.

We thank you for the work and help of the World Health Organization, organized by the United Nations Organizations and nations that have already given speedy service and assistance. Through its establishment of international relationships, we pray that global justice may be established, fear and suspicion be removed, and lasting peace may be ensured.

We pray through him who came to show humanity the ways of justice, peace and kindness, even our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer. And let our cries come unto You.

Amen

Statement on Voting Rights

The College of Bishops

Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

 January 8, 2022

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was hailed as a landmark piece of federal legislation in this country which sought to prohibit racial discrimination in voting. As landmark as that act was considered to have been, it has endured many reauthorizations, renewals, extensions, and amendments during its history. And here we are in 2022 and despite this act and its intent, the voting rights of persons, especially those of black and brown hue, is once again up for debate and vote. We are saddened and disappointed at both the need for such legislation as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act in 2022 and the fact that their passage is dependent upon whichever way the winds of partisan politics blow. We believe it is important that these two significant pieces of voting rights legislation become law in this forthcoming session of Congress. To this end, we call upon President Joe Biden and senators of goodwill to do all in their power to move these crucial pieces of legislation to vote during the early days of the next session of Congress. The voting rights of many of this nation’s minority citizens are at risk the longer these pieces of legislation remain stalled in the United States Senate.  

           Therefore, we the members of the College of Bishops of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church urge all members of our Zion to do all in your power to push for the passage of these legislations. In addition, we are encouraged by the various efforts we are seeing in this regard. We are pleased to stand in solidarity with faith leaders, media personalities, college students, and others who have committed themselves to engage in a hunger strike as an effort to push lawmakers to pass federal legislation to protect the vote. We encourage members of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, who feel called to this form of social activism to consider joining the hunger strike efforts of others. In addition, whatever form of social activism one feels called to engage in, we encourage you to do so in efforts to push lawmakers to pass these legislations designed to protect the sacred right to vote by all citizens of this nation.

           In addition, as we embark upon the 2022 observance of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., let us use this day to recommit ourselves to doing whatever we can to raise the awareness of the need to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Bill and the Freedom to Vote Act in this forthcoming Congress. We recommend the following actions to the members of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church:

a.    Pray for those who have committed themselves to engage in a hunger strike and other forms of social activism in support of the passage of these legislations.

b.    Send an email or some form of a message to members of your legislative delegations encouraging them to bring these bills to the floor of the Congress and for its passage in this Congress.

c.     Post on social media that as a member of the CME Church, you stand in support of the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Bill and the Freedom to Vote Act in this January 2022 session of Congress.

d.    Participate to the extent that you are able in public forms of activism in support of the passage of this legislation.

e.    Make plans now to participate in the 2022 Mid-Term Elections. This is not an option, it is essential that we vote in these elections.  

Thank you very much for your support and activism, with best wishes for the passage of this legislation, we the undersigned members of the College of Bishops remain

Sincerely,

Lawrence L. Reddick, Senior Bishop

Henry M. Williamson, Sr.

Thomas L. Brown, Sr.

Kenneth W. Carter

James B. Walker, Chair

Sylvester Williams, Sr.

Teresa Jefferson-Snorton

Godwin T. Umoette

Marvin Frank Thomas, Sr.

C. James King, Jr.

Paul A. G. Stewart, Sr.

Othal H. Lakey

Marshall Gilmore

 

Statement on Voting Rights by the College of Bishops – Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (thecmechurch.org)