General Secretary’s response to the call to a day of fasting, prayer, and acts of charity

The World Methodist Council together with many other faith communities around the world will respond to an appeal from Pope Francis and Judge Mohamed Abdel Salam, Secretary-General of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity to observe Thursday, May 14 as a “special day of prayer, fasting, and charitable work to implore God to help humanity overcome the Coronavirus pandemic.”

COVID-19 offers us an opportunity to stand together and push the reset/recalibrate button to work for a transformed world in which we share resources, walk softly on the earth, and affirm the dignity of all humanity.

As we navigate the future through unchartered waters, we need to tap into the spiritual resources of all religions and persons of goodwill.

Let us also express solidarity with the Thursday in Black Campaign against gender-based violence. Many women and children have to spend this time of lockdown with their abusers. Let us build a caring and compassionate Human Family as we cry for Divine Justice, Healing, Restoration, and Wholeness. (Matthew 5:21: Luke 18:3,7; James 2:6; 1 Corinthians 6:7)

In our Wesleyan tradition, it is customary to fast on Thursday evening through to Friday mid-day. John Wesley observed this practice most of his life. 

www.worldmethodist.org/connect/join-our-prayer-and fasting-community/

May this be a time of spiritual reflection, engaging in acts of compassion and justice as we together support each other to overcome the pandemic.

Together we can and will overcome.

A different world is possible.

Ivan M Abrahams

A call to a day of fasting, prayer, and acts of charity

Let your steadfast love, O God, be upon us, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:22 (NRSV)

The Wesleyan and Methodist family have been invited respond to a call for a day of fasting, and of prayer. This call has been taken up by Pope Francis in his weekday prayer of 3 March 2020, to an invitation from the Human Committee of Human Fraternity, and furthered by the World Council of Churches; amongst others. The suggested day is 14 May, 2020.

John Wesley in suggesting fasting as a ‘means of grace’, fasting was not so much a question of whether Methodist’s did so, but ‘How do you fast?’. He commended a spirituality of fasting as much as a practice – to do so is to recognise the importance of loving God and of loving one’s neighbour.

 In words of Susanna Wesley:                                                                                                                                                                           Help me, Lord,                                                                                                                                                                                                     to remember that religion                                                                                                                                                                               is not to be confined to the church or closet,                                                                                                                                                 nor exercised only in prayer and meditation,                                                                                                                                               but that everywhere I am in your presence.                                                                                                                                                   So may my every word and action have a moral content.

(“Practising the presence of God” in Prayers and Meditations of Susanna Wesley by Michael McMullen. Methodist Publishing House, Peterborough: 2000.)

Fasting can be an experience of practising and being attentive to the presence of God. It can represent a struggle to feel God being present, and it reveal an acute awareness of God’s presence like never before. We can discover a realisation or a reaffirmation that God is in all of ‘this’, in all the diverse experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic – life, death, sickness, healing, isolation, physical distancing, struggle, despair, loneliness, solitude, looking out for your neighbour, personal sacrifices, economic sacrifices, awareness of others whether they are too close or too far away. We attune ourselves to both our own experiences, the experiences of our family friends and colleagues, and the experiences of a world of people. This involves the whole self because God wants your whole self to participate in his mission in the world.

Therefore, fasting is a time for extending prayer, for yourself and others. As Wesley concludes in his seventh sermon in his series on the Sermon on the Mount (which is focused on fasting), the only thing to remain to be said is that of adding good deeds to our fast – giving alms and helping those in need.

Fasting and prayer, whether structured, literal, spiritual, or however we feel we can mark the time, is most of all an attentiveness to others – being alert and making ourselves aware of the obvious, the surprising, the unexpected, the longed for presence and moving of God, in a world and in peoples so terribly impacted by the pandemic of Covid-19. This is a calling for all people of faith and goodwill.

A reflection by (Rev) Tony Franklin-Ross, Chairperson – Ecumenical Relationships, World Methodist Council

 Look kindly on our world, our God,                                                                                                                                                             as we suffer and struggle with one another.                                                                                                                                       Look kindly on your Church, driven by the same necessity;                                                                                                               and may the light we have seen in Jesus                                                                                                                                       illuminate and brighten all the world.   Amen.

 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;                                                                                                                                                for his steadfast love endures for ever.                                                                                                                                                          Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,                                                                                                                                                     those he redeemed from trouble                                                                                                                                                               and gathered in from the lands,                                                                                                                                                              from the east and from the west,                                                                                                                                                            from the north and from the south.                                                                                                                                                               Psalm 107:1-3 (NRSV)

Risen and revealing God, you walked with us for a long time before we knew who you truly were. We talked about this world as if we were the ones who saw it clearly. Now that we more fully recognise your continued presence with us, give us eyes to see the beauty that surrounds us, as well as the problems we have too long ignored. And may our hearts then burn with your illuminating and catalysing fire that we might see the world that you envision.  Amen.                                    (© Community of Corrymeela – Ireland)

 Some wandered in desert wastes,                                                                                                                                                         finding no way to an inhabited town;                                                                                                                                                 hungry and thirsty,                                                                                                                                                                                   their soul fainted within them.                                                                                                                                                               Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,                                                                                                                                               and he delivered them from their distress;                                                                                                                                                     he led them by a straight way,                                                                                                                                                                 until they reached an inhabited town.                                                                                                                                                       Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,                                                                                                                                      for his wonderful works to humankind.                                                                                                                                                       For he satisfies the thirsty,                                                                                                                                                                        and the hungry he fills with good things.                                                                                                                                           Psalm 107:4-9 (NRSV)

God of tumult, God of peace: more will change in the weeks and months to come. Further landscapes of our normal will be shaken to the ground. Gradual movements will accelerate, market trends will shift, and they will sweep away much of what we know. And so we pray for what we need: the reassurance of your strength in the midst of our community; and the life that returns in fuller resurrection after what we love is laid to rest.   Amen.                                                                    (© Community of Corrymeela – Ireland)

 When they are diminished and brought low                                                                                                                                   through oppression, trouble, and sorrow,                                                                                                                                                 he pours contempt on princes                                                                                                                                                                   and makes them wander in trackless wastes;                                                                                                                                         but he raises up the needy out of distress,                                                                                                                                               and makes their families like flocks.                                                                                                                                                        The upright see it and are glad;                                                                                                                                                               and all wickedness stops its mouth.                                                                                                                                                          Let those who are wise give heed to these things,                                                                                                                                and consider the steadfast love of the Lord.                                                                                                                                     Psalm 107:39-43 (NRSV)

God of the protective fold, God of the abundant life: you did not form us to live in fear of others or in want of simple joys. In your keep may we find the abundance you came to provide: a constant supply of the love we need and an ever-opening expanse of a life that is ours to explore.   Amen.                                                                                                                    (© Community of Corrymeela – Ireland)

 In the commissioning words of Jesus:                                                                                                                                                   And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.                                                                                                             Matthew 28:20b (NRSV)

 God of opportunity and change,                                                                                                                                                                     praise to you for giving us life at this critical time.                                                                                                                                   As our horizons extend, keep us loyal to our past;                                                                                                                                 as our dangers increase, help us to prepare the future;                                                                                                                           keep us trusting and hopeful, ready to recognise your kingdom as it comes;                                                                                     through the love of Jesus Christ our Lord, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.   Amen. 

Click on the buttons below to read letters from Cardinal Kurt Koch from the Vaticana, and from Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam from the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity

In Memoriam of Geoffrey Wainwright

The Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Wainwright, 80, who was a current resident of Chapel Hill is mourned by his many friends and colleagues of the World Methodist Council.  Well loved for his leadership and work in many areas, Wainwright served as chair of the Council’s Ecumenical Relationships Committee.

The Council joins many around the world in mourning the death and celebrating the incredible life and witness. A significant contributor to theology and ecumenism, he taught at Duke Divinity School, contributed greatly to the drafting of the “Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry” (BEM) convergence text as he served as a member of the World Council of Churches Faith & Order Commission, and co-chaired the International Commission between the World Methodist Conference and the Roman Catholic Church. A preeminent scholar, he authored and edited multiple volumes, including Doxology: The Praise of God in Worship, Doctrine, and Life.

Dr. Wainwright died on March 17, 2020 and his arrangements: Cremation Society of the Carolinas of Raleigh. For more details click on the link: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/newsobserver/obituary.aspx?pid=195758063

Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends.  

The Lord is near to those who mourn; he lifts up those whose spirit is crushed.  Ps 34:18

Director of the Methodist Ecumenical Centre in Rome

We are seeking an ordained person from a Methodist, Wesleyan United or Uniting Church to serve the World Methodist Council as Director of the Methodist Ecumenical Centre in Rome (MEOR).

The person appointed will develop and build on the work of MEOR on behalf of its partners, the World Methodist Council, European Methodist Council, the Methodist Church in Britain (MCB),the Methodist Churches in Italy (OPCEMI) and others, as a resource for the global Methodist family in order to help facilitate Methodist relationships with the wider ecumenical community, in particular with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity of the Catholic Church (PCPCU).

The Director of MEOR will be someone who:

  • is fluent in English and is able to speak or willing to learn Italian,
  • holds a post-graduate qualification in theology,
  • has good knowledge and sensitivity about the world-wide family of Methodist and Wesleyan churches,
  • has a proven track record in ecumenical relations,
  • is able to work as part of a team and is also self-motivated,
  • has good verbal and written communication skills,
  • is IT literate.

For further information and application pack please visit: www.methodist.org.uk/jobs

The closing date for applications is 29th November 2019.

Interviews will take place in London on January 27 and 28, 2020.

Applications should be sent to recruitment@methodistchurch.org.uk

Further information about MEOR can be found at: www.methodistecumenicalofficerome.com and
www.methodist.org.uk/our-work/building-relationships/relationships-with-other-denominations/ecumenical-office-rome

Director of the Methodist Ecumenical Centre in Rome

Could this be you?

 

We are seeking an ordained person from a Methodist, Wesleyan United or Uniting Church to serve the World Methodist Council as Director of the Methodist Ecumenical Centre in Rome (MEOR).

The person appointed will develop and build on the work of MEOR on behalf of its partners, the World Methodist Council, European Methodist Council, the Methodist Church in Britain (MCB),the Methodist Churches in Italy (OPCEMI) and others, as a resource for the global Methodist family in order to help facilitate Methodist relationships with the wider ecumenical community, in particular with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity of the Catholic Church (PCPCU).

 

The Director of MEOR will be someone who:

  • is fluent in English and is able to speak or willing to learn Italian,
  • holds a post-graduate qualification in theology,
  • has good knowledge and sensitivity about the world-wide family of Methodist and Wesleyan churches,
  • has a proven track record in ecumenical relations,
  • is able to work as part of a team and is also self-motivated,
  • has good verbal and written communication skills,
  • is IT literate.

 

For further information and application pack please visit: www.methodist.org.uk/jobs

 

The closing date for applications is 29th November 2019.

Interviews will take place in London on January 27 and 28, 2020.

Applications should be sent to recruitment@methodistchurch.org.uk

 

Further information about MEOR can be found at: www.methodistecumenicalofficerome.com and
www.methodist.org.uk/our-work/building-relationships/relationships-with-other-denominations/ecumenical-office-rome

Global Day of Prayer to End Famine

Hands in prayer
Photo credit: Albin Hillert/WCC

The Global Day of Prayer to End Famine hopes to unite ecumenical partners and faith communities all over the world as a prayerful and spiritual movement to:

  • Encourage prayer, reflection and action with information and suggestions.
  • Bring awareness regarding famine’s impact on the most vulnerable children and families and to help address its root causes.
  • Connect with church-related and other humanitarian organizations that are currently working to bring immediate relief and positive long-term change so children and families can live out God’s aspiration for a dignified, peaceful and violence-free future
  • Help communities and congregations to uphold each other in prayer and support, by sharing experiences, challenge and solutions.

A second global day of prayer, the Global Day of Prayer to End Famine will be observed on 10 June 2018.

As a contribution by the faith community to a global effort to prevent famine, the 2017 Global Day of Prayer to End Famine played a critical role in raising awareness in faith communities and among global leaders of this under-reported and unfolding tragedy. This united effort was a strong contribution to mobilizing greater action across the world which led to famine being averted in the short-term, while the risk continues into 2018.

May our prayers join the millions of our sisters and brothers as they cry to the Lord to be delivered from their distress. May we, together, make a straight way, to sustained peace, wellbeing and abundance!

This story was originally posted at www.oikoumene.org.