STATEMENT BY THE WORLD METHODIST COUNCIL ON THE PASSING OF POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT
XVI

Together with other World Communions, the World Methodist Council extends its condolences
to His Holiness Pope Francis and the entire Catholic Church on the death of Pope Emeritus
Benedict XVI.

Pope Benedict was a towering intellectual figure who published sixty-six books, three
encyclicals, and three apostolic exhortations. His support of informed theological dialogue
between Churches, including the dialogue between the World Methodist Council and the
Roman Catholic Church, was a hallmark of his pontificate. Pope Benedict’s impact on Christian
unity through prayer and theological discourse is an enduring legacy of his ministry. 

On learning of the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict’s death, the President of the World
Methodist Council, Rev. Dr. JC Park, commented, “His most significant contribution has been
the spiritual and theological retrieval of the uniqueness of Jesus. His magnum opus Jesus of
Nazareth, is the living witness of Jesus ‘who is close to the Father’s heart.’” (John 1:18)

May Benedict rest in peace and rise in glory.

We regretfully announce the passing of Bishop Sundo Kim

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ.

It is with some considerable sadness that we acknowledge the death of Bishop Sundo Kim (1930-2022), a former Senior Pastor of Kwanglim Methodist Church, Chairperson of World Methodist Council, President Bishop of the Korean Methodist Church and an inspiring leader of our generation to many; a man who combined scholarship with humility, intelligence with grace and Biblical insight with pastoral heart.

Bishop Kim passed away on 25th November 2022 at 12.03am due to old age. Over the next few days and weeks, many of his achievements and accolades, will be told and retold, as we give thanks for his indelible contribution to Korean Methodism and the wider Methodist family across the globe. His funeral service is planned for Monday 28th at 9.30am (Korean time) at Kwanglim Methodist Church. It would be a good commemoration if you send us a video message for the funeral service next Monday. Please shoot the video horizontally if it’s possible. Thank you

With very best wishes,

Rev. Soonjung Kwun

Executive pastor

Pastoral Mission Support Office

Kwanglim Church

Brian Edgar Beck (1933-2022)

It is with great sadness that Wesley House announces the death of the Revd. Dr Brian E Beck, alumnus, former Tutor and Principal of the College.

Brian was educated at the City of London School, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and Wesley House, Cambridge. Whilst at Cambridge he met and married Margaret Ludlow and together they had three children.

After his theological education at Wesley House Brian was appointed Assistant Tutor at Handsworth College (1957-1959); he was ordained at the Methodist Conference of 1960 while serving as a circuit minister in Suffolk (1959-1962). He served on the staff of Saint Paul’s United Theological College, Limuru, Kenya (1962-1968) during which time the Methodist Church in Kenya became autonomous from the British Methodist Conference.  Brian was instrumental in drawing up the constitution and standing orders of the new church, many of which still stand, and he is fondly remembered in Kenya today.  Only a couple of weeks ago Brian and Margaret were recalling travelling to Kenya by boat through the Suez Canal, and then their journey home which involved packing their belongings and their children into a small Renault which they then drove from Nairobi to Cape Town!

On his return to Britain Brian was appointed Tutor at Wesley House where he taught New Testament in the college and in the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Cambridge.  He published two books on the New Testament: Reading the New Testament Today (1977 & 1992), and Christian Character in the Gospel of Luke (1989).  In 1980 Brian became Principal of Wesley House before becoming the Secretary of the Methodist Conference in Britain in 1984 until his retirement in 1998.

From 1969 to 2007 Brian shared in the leadership of the international Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies and during this time he deepened his own interest in Wesleyan theology, which, in retirement, he taught to Wesley House students.  Many of his essays on Wesleyan and Methodist theology were collected into a volume published by Routledge in 2017 entitled, Methodist Heritage and Identity.  He also published,Exploring Methodism’s Heritage, the Story of the Oxford Institute (2004) and contributed to Ashgate’s Research Companion to World Methodism (2013).

In 1993 Brian served as the President of the British Methodist Conference, chairing the difficult debate on human sexuality with great wisdom and patience, that resulted in the six resolutions that for more than 20 years held the church together across deep differences. In his letter to the Methodist people immediately afterwards, he wrote, “The Conference had been invited to adopt resolutions which took divergent views of the issues…. in the event, the Conference did not adopt any of those resolutions. Instead it adopted a pastoral rather than a legal approach and decided to affirm both the traditional moral teaching of the Christian church, and the participation and ministry of lesbians and gay men in the church, while leaving decisions about particular cases to be taken by the appropriate committees against this background.”

In 1998, in the year he retired, Brian was awarded the Lambeth DD – a doctorate awarded to eminent and much-published scholars in the field of theology.  He and Margaret retired to Cambridge where Brian continued to serve the connexion in a wide range of capacities, and lead worship in the circuit and in the college until January of this year when he preached his last service at Haslingfield, seventy years after he received his first note to preach.  He was actively involved in college life, teaching Methodism, and on occasion, New Testament Greek.  He looked after the college’s archive and rare books until this summer, only surrendering his keys after the college’s centenary celebrations in July as his health began to decline.

Brian’s spirituality was rooted in the hymns of Charles Wesley.  Of Charles’ work, published as Hymns on the Lord’s Supper in 1745, Brian wrote in 2007 in the Epworth Review, “gratitude is due, not just for the book and its contents but, in the communion of saints, for the one who wrote it… who in the offering of his own poetic gifts exemplified his own words:

Take my soul and body’s powers,

Take my memory, mind, and will,

All my goods, and all my hours,

All I know and all I feel,

All I think, and speak, and do;

Take my heart but make it new”.

Brian also exemplified these words, offering his considerable powers of memory, mind and will, dry humour, kindness and wisdom to the church in the many offices he held, as a scholar, as a liturgist, as a preacher and as a teacher. 

His choice of funeral hymn, (by Charles Wesley, of course), assures us, as his presence with us has for so long, that all is well:

I rest beneath the Almighty’s shade,

My griefs expire, my troubles cease;

Thou, Lord, on whom my soul is stayed

Wilt keep me still in perfect peace.

He died peacefully at home in Cambridge on 18 November in the 90th year of his age and the 66th year of his ministry.

Methodist-Roman Catholic International Commission Communique on the Plenary Meeting in October 2022

The Methodist-Roman Catholic International Commission (MERCIC) met at the Casa Maria
Immacolata, Rome, Italy, from 2 nd -8 th October 2022, for the first plenary meeting of a new round of
dialogue. The Commission has met without interruption since its foundation in 1967 and now begins
its twelfth round on the theme of unity and mission. The gathering was hosted by the World
Methodist Council with the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome as the local meeting organizer.


The Commission met with a broad agenda of mission and unity, conscious of the forthcoming
anniversary of the Council of Nicaea, the current needs and developments of both communions, and
the pressing need for unity between us “so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21). In order to discern
its focus for this round of dialogue, the Commission heard papers on: scripture texts from John 17
and Acts 15; the Missio Dei; hearing the cry of the poor; the Council of Nicaea; synodal and
conferencing practices within our communions; the implications of mission for belief; recognition;
the Wesleyan essentials; and the hierarchy of truths. On the basis of these contributions, the
Commission developed a schema for its future work which will seek to chart a pathway towards unity
with a missiological lens, taking account of the theological convergence that the dialogue has already
achieved.


The Commission began its meeting on 3 rd October with prayer at Ponte Sant’ Angelo Methodist
Church in Rome, praying the historic Wesleyan Covenant Service together. Commission members
were joined by ecumenical representatives and members of the diplomatic community. The Rev.
Prof. Edgardo Colon-Emeric preached the opening sermon on Ephesians 4, stating the ecumenical call
is perennial, hopeful, and missional. Following the prayer service, the Rev. Deacon Alessandra Trotta,
a Methodist deacon currently serving as the moderator of the governing council (Tavola Valdese) of the Waldensian Evangelical Church (Union of Methodist and Waldensian Churches), addressed the
Commission, describing the current ecumenical challenges for Methodists in Italy as well as the
special union between Methodist and Waldensian churches in Italy. Additionally, Rev. Prof. Daniele
Garrone and Rev. Luca Baratto, respectively the president and the executive secretary of the
Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy, shared with the Commission members the work of the
Federation.


On Wednesday 5 th October, the Commission met Pope Francis in a private audience and presented to
him the report of the eleventh round of dialogue—God in Christ Reconciling: On the Way to Full
Communion in Faith, Sacraments and Mission. Commenting on the parable of the two sons (Luke
15:11-32)—the text chosen by the Commission for its scriptural reflection—Pope Francis noted that
both Catholics and Methodists need to repent and return to the Father in order for unity to come
about, because through their divisions, both have sinned and strayed from the Father.


The Commission met H.Em. Cardinal Mario Grech and Sr Nathalie Becquart XMCJ, Secretary General
and Undersecretary respectively of the General Secretariat of the Synod, on 5 th October. Following a
shared meal with Commission members, Cardinal Grech and Sr Nathalie explained the current
progress of the synodal process being pursued by the Catholic Church and how ecumenical and inter-
religious voices constituted an important part of the Catholic Church’s listening to the Holy Spirit.
Commission members shared about Methodist theologies of conferencing and discernment,
expressed their hopes and fears for the process, and discussed their own experiences of the synodal
process thus far.


On Thursday, 6 th October, H.E. Chiara Porro, the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, and her
spouse, Mr Rien Schuurhuis, hosted the Commission for dinner at their residence. Over dinner the
Ambassador explained aspects of the Embassy’s collaboration with the Holy See regarding questions
of environmental justice, the dignity of women, and counter human trafficking.


On Friday, 7 th October, the Commission launched the report of its eleventh round, God in Christ
Reconciling, presenting the text as the first of a new series of Tillard Chair Lectures on the theme of
reconciliation, held at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas in Rome
[https://youtu.be/B8C35EFJPhk]. The Rev. Prof. Edgardo A. Colón-Emeric, Prof. Catherine E. Clifford,
Dr Clare Watkins, and the Rev. Dr Hermen Shastri, all members who participated in the eleventh
round, presented chapters of the report. The current Catholic co-chair, Bishop Shane Mackinlay, read
a message from the previous co-chairs at the beginning of the presentation.


At the closing dinner on 7 th October, Fr. Anthony Currer, outgoing Catholic co-secretary, was
recognized for his distinguished service to the Commission as he concludes his tenure at the
Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity. Fr. Martin Browne OSB will succeed Fr. Currer as the new
Catholic co-secretary.


The Commission is grateful to all who met with them and received them so graciously during their
plenary meeting. In particular, the Commission extends its gratitude to the community of the
Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul and all who work at Casa Maria Immacolata for their
gracious hospitality and to the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome for their excellent organizing.


The Commission will meet again in October 2023.

The Commission is made up of:


Methodist Members
Reverend Prof. Edgardo A. Colón–Emeric (Co-Chair), USA
Reverend Matthew A. Laferty (Co-Secretary), Methodist Ecumenical Office, Rome
Dr Jung Choi, Korea/USA
Dr Geordan Hammond, United Kingdom
Bishop Lizzette Gabriel Montalvo, Puerto Rico
Reverend Prof. Glen O’Brien, Australia
Reverend Dr Hermen Shastri, Malaysia
Prof. Lilian Cheelo Siwila, South Africa


Catholic Members
Bishop Shane Mackinlay (Co-Chair), Australia
Reverend Anthony Currer (outgoing Co-Secretary), Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, Rome
Reverend Martin Browne OSB (incoming Co-Secretary), Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, Rome
Prof. Catherine E. Clifford, Canada
Reverend Prof. Gerard Kelly, Australia
Sister Prof. MarySylvia Nwachukwu DDL, Nigeria
Reverend Prof. Daniel Franklin Pilario CM, Philippines
Reverend Prof. Jorge Scampini OP, Argentina
Dr Clare Watkins, United Kingdom