“On The Move” – Second World Methodist Council Consultation on Migration September 4-7, 2023, in Manila, Philippines

On September 4-7, 2023, a group of about 25 people representing various member churches of the
World Methodist Council (WMC) and all the world regions gathered in Manila, Philippines. Hosted
by the Global Ministries Regional Office and The United Methodist Church in the Philippines and
meeting in Shalom Hotel in Malate, Manila, owned by the United Church of Christ in the
Philippines, also a member church of the WMC, the participants engaged in migration matters in
preparation for the World Methodist Conference August 13-18, 2024, in Gothenburg, Sweden under
the theme “On The Move.” WMC Rev Dr Jong Chun “JC” Park stated in his welcome speech: “The
World Methodist Conference will gather next year with the theme ‘On the Move: Migration,
Pilgrimage and Guiding Lights.’ Many people from the global South have been already crossing the
abyssal line dividing metropolitan and colonial societies. They are on the move. Therefore, God is
on the move with the people of God. Yes, the Church has to be on the move, too. This is the Kairos
moment for a call to be the Church in a new way.”

Discussions at the Consultation were grounded in prayer, bible studies and theological reflections.
In an interactive learning environment, participants listened to migrants and shared experiences of
ministries with migrants and refugees in various parts of the world. Meeting in Asia, reports of
advocacy and accompaniment of Filipino migrant workers, information on a Christian presence in
the Middle East, on the tripartite network Churches Witnessing with Migrants and the situation of
North Korean Refugees were received. An interactive map was created to capture challenges and
opportunities for cooperation. Reports dealt with root causes like climate change, economic
injustice, and armed conflicts.

WMC General Secretary Bishop Ivan M. Abraham summarizes his experiences: “The second
consultation on Migration once again reaffirmed the people called Methodists were “on the move”
in their response to migration wherever it occurs as a result of food insecurity, drought, violence or
climate change. It was inspiring to hear what is happening in the ‘global parish’ – stories of struggle
as well as some victories. The most heart rendering was listening to Methodists from the small
island states who are not able to mitigate the effects of climate change and are forced to migrate.
What emerged from the consultation following the global pandemic is that everything in the world
is interrelated; ‘if one nation sneezes we are all bound to catch a cold’. For this reason, ‘we must act
and we must act now’”.

In a statement (https://worldmethodistcouncil.org/2023/09/18/a-statement-of-the-second-
) the Consultation urges the World
Methodist Council and its member churches to dismantle past and present complicity in causing
forced migration, to reimagine the Scriptural calling in which all welcomed as strangers, to live in
solidarity with migrants and refugees and to actively engage in prayer and discernment in
preparation for the 2024 World Methodist Conference.

The Consultation also sends a resolution to the World Methodist Council, to keep global migration
as a primary focus of learning, reflection, and action during the coming quinquennium.

Nussloch, Germany, September 18,2023

Rosemarie Wenner, World Methodist Council – Geneva Secretary