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)

The World Methodist Council mourns the loss of Archbishop Tutu

With great sadness, the Officers and members of the World Methodist Council received the news
about the passing away of Archbishop Emeritus Mpilo Desmond Tutu (7 October-26 December
2021).

We extend our heartfelt condolences to Mama Leah, the entire Tutu family, and the global
Anglican communion.

We give thanks to God for the life and witness of Archbishop Tutu, a transformative leader, a
priest, a prophet, and a pastor who listened to the voices of the marginalized and fearlessly
spoke truth to power in apartheid South Africa and many other places around the globe where
injustice prevailed.

We were privileged to have “the Arch” as the keynote speaker at the Fifteenth World Methodist
Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1986.

We mourn the loss of this stalwart of justice, peace, and reconciliation, a global icon whose
legacy lives on and leaves an indelible mark on the lives of many.

May he rest in peace and rise with all the saints in Glory.

Ivan M Abrahams

General Secretary

Religious leaders urge US president Biden to end embargo against the Cuban people

In a 15 October letter to US president Joe Biden, leaders from the World Council of Churches, ACT Alliance, Council of Churches in Cuba, and other faith-based groups urged an end to nearly 60 years of embargo against the Cuban people, who are facing an appalling humanitarian situation.

Havana, Cuba.

Photo: Marcelo Schneider/WCC, 2013.

The Obama administration, with your support, sought to rethink the policy and pursue re-engagement with Cuba, by relaxing sanctions, allowing direct flights between the two countries, and easing restrictions on US citizens traveling to and doing business in Cuba,” the letter reads, adding that former president Trump reversed that strategy, leading to severe economic repercussions for the Cuban people.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the problems in Cuba,” reads the letter. We ask you to take a bold choice and end the embargo against the Cuban people.”

The letter also acknowledges the significant political pressures and obstacles to this course of action. 

We do not see real public evidence to believe that Cuba has the will, means and capacity to sponsor global terrorism,” reads the letter. We strongly believe that there are other ways to engage with the Cuban authorities to discuss and overcome disagreements on issues and legacies, without affecting the people who want to live in human dignity.”

Read the full letter

UN maintains pressure on Philippine human rights, ICHRP calls for independent investigation

October 7, 2021 – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Michelle Bachelet, presented her oral report on the Philippines to the UNHRC today, one year after the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed a resolution to provide “technical cooperation and capacity-building” to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines for the protection of human rights.

Ms Bachelet noted the progress of the UN Joint Program for technical assistance and capacity-building on human rights, adopted only on July 22 this year. She also noted the ongoing lack of accountability for the killings and rights violations in the counterinsurgency program; continuing harassment, threats and killings of human rights defenders, church workers, environmental and land rights defenders, journalists, trade unionists, farmers and lawyers. She singled out the killing of 9 indigenous Tumandok leaders on Panay on December 30, 2020, and the killing of 9 community leaders during the Bloody Sunday operation on March 7, 2021. She maintained her criticism of the government’s red-tagging against activists, media and other actors, and called for an end to the hate language during the unfolding national election campaign. 

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) fully endorses High Commissioner Bachelet’s comment that the decision of the International Criminal Court Pre-Trial Chamber to open an investigation in the Philippines is a significant indication of the inadequate, if not non-existent, domestic remedies in the country. 

The formal response of the Philippine Delegate demonstrated that the Duterte government continues to reject any criticism of its human rights record, doubling down on its use of red-tagging to terrorise any critics by alleging without evidence that they recruit fighters for the New People’s Army.

The Duterte government continues to use the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), created at the end of 2018, as the government framework to repress civilian dissent.  Human rights violations will continue unless the NTF-ELCAC is declared unconstitutional and dissolved. ICHRP Chairperson Peter Murphy calls  “The Duterte government’s claims to uphold human rights and respect the UN Human Rights Council shamelessly hypocritical”.

High Commissioner Bachelet detailed some of the many human rights violations which have taken place since last October. INVESTIGATE PH, an independent international civil society initiative, reported extensive violations of economic, social, and cultural rights of the Filipino people, as well as violations of the rights to development, self-determination, and peace. The Duterte administration’s war on dissent is now using mechanisms and tactics which were previously used in the notorious war on poor people to target alleged drug users (such as tokhang-style killings by police) to maintain its state terror to control the people. 

High Commissioner Bachelet’s report clearly demonstrated the lack of domestic mechanisms in the Philippines to end such human rights violations. In the wake of the worsening human rights situation, ICHRP reiterates the recommendations of INVESTIGATE PH, including the authorization of an international independent investigation of human rights violations in the Philippines. ICHRP also calls on the UNHRC to maintain its efforts to hold the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and its officials accountable for the thousands of violations of human rights carried out as official state policies.###

For comment: Peter Murphy, Chairperson, ICHRP Global Council +61 418 312 301 chairperson@ichrp.net 

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines is a global network of organizations, concerned about the human rights situation in the Philippines and committed to campaign for just and lasting peace in the country.

Immediate Response Required

On March 17, 2020, the Methodist Church lost one of its leading ecumenists, Geoffrey Wainwright. For almost three decades, Wainwright formed Christian ministers and theologians at Duke Divinity School for the church universal. In the best of Methodist tradition, Wainwright loved scripture and singing. He exhorted his students to “guard the good treasure” entrusted to us in Scripture and the sound doctrine of the church, “with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us” (2 Tim. 1:13-14). Indeed, he inscribed these verses on the books that he autographed for his students. Wainwright believed that good hymnody helped form sound doctrine. Hence, he frequently invited his students to sing hymns during lecture, especially those by Charles Wesley. Because Wainwright was Methodist, he was ecumenical. He introduced himself to his students as an evangelical, orthodox, catholic theologian, all lowercase letters. His profound doxological vision, linguistic skills and passion for Christian unity helped him become a world-renowned ecumenist. 

Geoffrey Wainwright was born in Yorkshire, England, the only child of Willie and Martha Ann Wainwright. At the University of Cambridge he studied Modern Languages and then Theology. He received a theological doctorate from the University of Geneva in 1972, and his Cambridge D.D. in 1987. He was ordained by the British Methodist Conference in 1967. For six years he served as a pastor and teacher at the Protestant Faculty of Theology in Yaoundé, Cameroon. On returning to Britain in 1973 he taught at The Queen’s College (joint Anglican Methodist) in Birmingham. In 1979 he moved with his wife and three children to the United States where he taught at Union Theological Seminary in New York before moving to Durham in 1983 where he became Professor of Systematic Theology at Duke Divinity School until his retirement in 2012. He was a member (1976-1991) in the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches. He was a principal editor of the text “Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry” drawn up by the Commission at Lima, Peru in 1982. Between 1986 and 2011 he served as chair on the Methodist side of the Joint Commission for Dialogue between the World Methodist Council and the Roman Catholic Church. Among his books the most influential remain his systematic theology, Doxology: The Praise of God in Worship, Doctrine and Life (OUP 1980), and The Oxford History of Christian Worship, co-edited by Karen Westerfield Tucker.

In 1965 he married Margaret Wiles, who survives him as do his children, Joanna Paulman (Lance), Catherine Aravosis, Dominic Wainwright (Jeannie) and his grandchildren, Wesley Paulman, Matthaios and Sofia Eleni Aravosis.

Donations in his memory may be sent to Duke Divinity School (in honor of Geoffrey Wainwright), Box 90968, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708 and will be used to provide financial aid support for students. You may also give online at https://www.gifts.duke.edu/divinity.

[Excerpts from Duke Divinity Viewpoints March 19, 2020 by Edgardo Colón-Emeric, and Pray Tell: Worship, Wit & Wisdom blog – May 1, 2020]

To attend or watch the service online:

It you wish to attend, please CLICK HERE to RSVP for the Service of Death and Resurrection for Geoffrey Wainwright.

To view online the Service of Death and Resurrection for Dr. Geoffrey Wainwright taking place Saturday, October 16, 2021 at 2pm EST in Goodson Chapel here at the Divinity School. Also included below is the announcement and invitation for the service.                         https://youtu.be/lhPAxMxFC2M

NIFEA E-Conference: Degrowth – Living Sufficiently and Sustainably

Organised by the Council for World Mission (CWM), Lutheran World Federation (LWF), World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), World Council of Churches (WCC) and World Methodist Council (WMC) under the New International Financial and Economic Architecture (NIFEA) initiative, the NIFEA E-conference on “Degrowth – Living Sufficiently and Sustainably” will be a space to discuss and unpack various visions of “de-growth” or “post-growth” with a view to addressing the urgent eco-crisis and pandemic of inequality besetting the planet today.  

Photo: Marcelo Schneider/WCC

1 October 2021 (Friday)

 

Session 1: 10:00 – 12:00 CEST
Click here to register for session 1

 

Session 2: 14:00 – 16:00 CEST
Click here to register for session 2

 

How do we address the contradictions between modern society’s obsession with limitless economic growth and the ecological limits of our only planetary home? Are there models of the good life that meet the needs of all people, share wealth and power, whilst nurturing the environment? What resources do we have and what strategies can we employ as faith communities to empower a just and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a just transition from a growth-oriented, extractivist economic paradigm to a life-affirming economy where all of God’s creation can flourish?

The NIFEA E-conference takes the 6th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as a vital backdrop for reflections and aims to promote discussions towards developing a short ecumenical message directed to the G20 Leaders’ Summit taking place in Rome from 30-31 October 2021 on theme of “People, Planet and Prosperity”.

Session 1, 10:00 – 12:00

Moderator:
Dr Rogate Mshana, moderator (Tanzania, Oikotree)

Speakers:
Lemaima Jennifer Vai’i (Fiji, Pacific Conference of Churches)
Dr George Zachariah (India and New Zealand, Trinity College)
Dr Martin Kopp (France, Federation of Protestant Churches in France)
Prof Lalrindiki Ralte (India, Aizawl Theological College)
Rosario Guzman (Philippines, Ibon Foundation)

Summary of the discussion:
Rev Dr Peter Cruchley (CWM), Rev Dr Sivin Kit (LWF), Rev Philip Peacock (WCRC), Athena Peralta (WCC), and Bishop Rosemarie Wenner (WMC)

 

Session 2, 14:00 – 16:00

Moderator:
Rev Dr Gordon Cowans, moderator (Jamaica, Ecumenical Panel on a NIFEA)

Speakers:
Rev Chebon Kernell (USA, Native American Comprehensive Plan, United Methodist Church
Dr Arnie Saiki (USA-Hawaii, Imipono Projects)
Dr Fundiswa Kobo (South Africa, University of South Africa)

Dr Priya Lukka (UK, Goldsmith University)
Rev Rozemarijn van’t Einde (Netherlands, De Klimaatwakers)

Summary of the discussion:
Rev Dr Peter Cruchley (CWM), Rev Dr Sivin Kit (LWF), Rev Philip Peacock (WCRC), Athena Peralta (WCC), and Bishop Rosemarie Wenner (WMC)

Interpretation into Spanish will be available for this session.

Panelist bios:

Lemaima Jennifer Vai’i is a young person from the Methodist Church in Fiji and the Pacific Conference of Churches. She is passionate about climate justice and is part of the Reweaving the Ecological Mat Youth Team.

Dr George Zachariah is from India and is currently the Wesley Lecturer in Theological Studies and Coordinator of the Research Committee at Trinity College in Auckland, New Zealand.

Dr Martin Kopp chairs the Commission on Ecology and Climate Justice of the Federation of Protestant Churches in France and holds a doctorate in Protestant theology from the University of Strasbourg.

Prof Lalrindiki Ralte is an Indigenous person from Mizoram, India and teaches theology and ethics at the Aizawl Theological College.

Rosario Guzman is the executive editor and head of research at Ibon Foundation – a non-profit research, education and information-development institution based in the Philippines.

Rev Chebon Kernell serves as executive director of the Native American Comprehensive Plan of the United Methodist Church in the USA and a member of the WCC’s Ecumenical Indigenous People’s Reference Group.

Dr Arnie Saiki is from Hawaii, coordinates Imipono Projects and authored the book, “Ecological-Economic Accounts: Towards Intemerate Values.”

Dr Fundiswa Kobo is a senior lecturer on Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology at the University of South Africa.

Dr Priya Lukka is a lecturer in economics at Goldsmith University in the UK. Previously she worked with ChristianAid.

Rev Rozemarijn van’t Einde is a pastor in the Netherlands and co-initiated and is a spokesperson for De Klimaatwakersor Climate Watchers.

Palestinian peace prayer

As we join an international wave of prayer this week for peace in Palestine/Israel, we stand with the World Council of Churches in asserting that all forms of violence are deplorable and should end. We affirm that religious affiliations should not justify the application of different moral standards for different communities. We insist that International law, as an expression of justice for all peoples, must
be respected as a moral norm to be implemented politically and socially. We continue to stand
Palestinian Christians and Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups working to uphold international law. The Methodist liaison office is one sign of our ongoing response to the cry of Palestinian Christians for their sisters and brothers in faith around the world to come and see the impact of the occupation.

In this week, we continue to pray that the conflict and division that have crushed so many lives in the region over generations may cease. We pray that the hope we share for a renewal and peace be a source of strength for all who work towards reconciliation and for those whose lives are dominated by fear and uncertainty in Israel/Palestine.