Taiwan Statement

Photo 140868137 | Earth Taiwan © Dreamstime.com

On behalf of the World Methodist Council, General Secretary Ivan Abrahams offers prayers and condolences to the people of Taiwan and their loved ones following the severe earthquake there on 3 April 2024. He calls on all people, and especially the Methodist family, to remember those affected by this 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

Death and destruction are widespread on the Islan, but the severest destruction was near Hualien, which was closest to the center. Following the earthquake, Taiwan has experienced more than 100 aftershocks.

Prayers for comfort for the injured and bereaved will continue as well as calls for assistance to those needing help with places to stay, reconstruction, and day-to-day supplies. 

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though the waters roar and foam, and the mountains quake with their surging. Psalm 46:1-3 (NIV)

A Statement of the Second Consultation on Migration of the World Methodist Council

“I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25:35, CEB)

“He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.” (Maori proverb)


Translation: “What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.”

People from Methodist churches and organizations representing all the corners of the earth gathered in
Manila September 4-7, 2023 for the Second Consultation on Migration to learn more about migration
and to explore together how the people called Methodists can best work in solidarity on migration
matters.


The theme of the consultation was “On The Move” and built on the First Consultation on Migration in
London, England in 2019, which had focused on diaspora Methodist congregations in contexts of
previously existing congregations. That Consultation produced a statement: God Is On The Move: A Call
to Be the Church in a New Way – World Methodist Council.


The Manila Consultation heard the testimonies and challenges of migrants and looked at root causes of
migration and how best to support migrants, learning that the so-called migration crisis is primarily a
crisis of welcoming. Theologically grounded in scriptural calls to love the foreigner and welcome one
another as strangers (Leviticus 19:34 and Matthew 25:35), as well as John Wesley’s example of
intentional presence with the poor, sick, and imprisoned, the 2023 World Methodist Council
Consultation on Migration:

 Confesses the sins of past and present complicity of churches of the Methodist tradition in causing,
or contributing to, the forced displacement of people and strives to move on to perfection in living
into de-colonizing ways of respecting and standing in solidarity with the migrants of this world.


 Declares, with hope, that migration is timeless, that it always happens, and it does so by bringing
different benefits to our congregations and communities, such as interculturality and diversity in
different forms of expressions, transforming them into more conscious and more similar to the image
of God.


 Acknowledges the right of all people everywhere to migrate freely, and that people forced to migrate
experience suffering or loss prior to migrating, during the journey, or after arrival at their destination
and that the church is called to alleviate that suffering.


 Recognizes that the challenges facing migrants are dramatically rising in correlation with increased
human rights violations, religious and political conflicts, poverty, climate change, xenophobia,
nationalism, racism and various racial and ethno-regional phobias, labor rights violations, and
implementation of harmful immigration policies. Therefore, the Consultation sees the potential of
Methodist churches to respond to these root causes of migration, as well as to assist those who have
been forced to migrate, using the capacity of the Methodist connection, the traditions of holy
conferencing and holistic discernment, and the imperative to express personal piety through social
holiness.

 Urges Methodists everywhere to stand in solidarity with migrants, listening well and providing
requested assistance, treating migrants with the dignity of fellow travelers on a journey by protecting
migrants’ agency and freedom to make small and large life choices without encumbrance or
conditions. The church makes the most faithful witness to migrants when its actions speak as
outward signs of God’s love.


 Asks Methodist churches to reimagine our Scriptural calling in which we are all welcomed as
strangers in a way that centers on a holistic inclusion into the locality, rather than merely inviting
newcomers into our churches, our way of worshiping, or our way of being in the world. Creative
collaboration with migrant-led organizations and other community resources with existing capacity to
support migrants will be key. The church only does this work well through the power of the Holy
Spirit and the participation of migrants.


 Calls for the church to be a prophetic voice for and with migrants. Goals of protection and welcome
must include all migrants. Advocacy for related migration policy change should originate from a
trusting relationship with the persons affected by the policy or practice.


 Encourages gender-responsive approaches to the needs of migrants that account for differentiated
vulnerabilities in certain migration situations based on age, gender, sexuality and diversity. Churches
should stand with migrants in solidarity in opposition to gender-based violence and against
immigration policies that detain children or separate families.


 Pleads with all churches to assume their responsibility regarding climate crisis, uncontrolled
utilitarian approach to creation through war, movement of armament, and exploitation of natural
resources. This means paying particular attention to enforced displacement from climate-threatened
nations in the Pacific and low-lying nations elsewhere. Churches from the global north are called to
do all within their power to rapidly reduce carbon emissions, to demand immediate action by their
governments, to insist that governments develop climate-related categories of asylum, and to revive
their calling as co-caretakers of creation.


 Admits the need to continue to learn with humble hearts, open minds, and a willingness to take
action, more about our Methodist colonizing heritage and its past and present contributions to the
root causes of migration.


 Advises members of the World Methodist Council considering planting diaspora congregations to do
so in conversation with host conferences in the same country. Methodist congregations in host
countries are encouraged to be welcoming in their approach to new congregations. Both
denominations should engage in open conversations in order to ensure the viability and sustainability
of both entities. A first step towards decolonizing mission would be engagement in mutuality in
missionary-sending practices.


 Commits, as individuals, to maintain intentional prayer, scriptural reflection, and conversation
regarding migration through regular online monthly devotionals between now and the next World
Methodist Conference, “On The Move,” to be held August 13-18, 2024 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Submitted by Geneva Secretary, Bishop Rosemarie Wenner

Statement on the Fourth Roundtable for Peace on the Korean Peninsula

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” (Isa 52:7)

Context and background

In alignment with the spirit of the Tozanso process and Glion consultation, Methodist churches worldwide have maintained a steadfast commitment to fostering peace and reunification on the Korean Peninsula. During the 21st World Methodist Conference on September 1, 2016, representatives from the KMC, UMC, and WMC convened to reaffirm their dedication and collaboratively address the ongoing conflict on the Korean Peninsula. The second session of the Roundtable coincided with the launch of GBGM’s Asia regional office in Seoul on March 25, 2017. This gathering reiterated the significance of peacebuilding on the Korean Peninsula and humanitarian cooperation, both integral facets of the church mission’s objectives. The third Roundtable was convened by the UMC-GBGM in Atlanta on November 9-11, 2018. Its primary focus was to enhance the Methodist church’s role as a mediator concerning the normalization of DPRK‐USA relations and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. This responsibility was undertaken in conjunction with the church’s enduring advocacy for global denuclearization, as articulated in the Atlanta Statement.

The fourth KMC-UMC-WMC Roundtable, hosted by the KMC on August 28-29, 2023, focused on enhancing the Methodist church’s contribution to the peacebuilding process in the region. Given that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean Armistice agreement, the Roundtable also reemphasized the importance of dialogue, diplomatic engagement, and peaceful process, supporting the global Korea Peace Appeal, promoted by the churches in Korea and the Korea Peace Action, co-convened by UMC-GBGM-KMC-GBM along with numerous civil organizations.

In accordance with the 88 Declaration, in prayer, we recognize the presence of hatred, division, and the lingering Korean War as violations against our Lord Jesus Christ’s New Commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34). Through our prayers, we humbly ask God to empower us with the courage to testify to the vision of a bountiful life for all within the new heaven and earth, where the essence of shalom prevails. Moreover, we understand our divine calling to engage in the ministry of reconciliation, a manifestation of Christ’s boundless love (2 Cor 5:14), and thus, as Christians, we are tasked to serve as ambassadors of reconciliation in Christ.

We, therefore, commit ourselves to:

Calls to action

Pray with the churches of Korea on the Sunday before August 15, observed as the “Sunday of Prayer for the Peaceful Reunification on the Korean Peninsula.”

Urge Methodist churches worldwide and ecumenical partners to offer their advocacy, support and solidarity for Korean churches and Korean diaspora in their pursuit of lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and relationships.

Encourage the KMC-UMC-WMC to foster young people and women leadership who can work for peace, promote disarmament, and denounce militarization, ensuring that young people and women have an equal and meaningful role in the peace process.

Recommend the Methodist churches worldwide to organize peace pilgrimages, jointly coordinated by the KMC-UMC-WMC, serving as both peacemakers and bridge builders. This group affirms the 22nd WMC in Gothenburg, Sweden, from August 13 to 18, 2024 as a space  for further engagement for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Invite Methodist churches worldwide to engage in international cooperation to improve the quality of human rights and seek to provide humanitarian aid in the DPRK.

Adopted by consensus

Condolences to General Secretary Ivan Abrahams and his wife Esme

The World Methodist Council extends sympathy and condolences to General Secretary Ivan Abrahams and his wife Esme upon the recent loss of her sister Pamela Veronica Fester.

She was the daughter of the late Edward and Freda Mostert. After a brief battle with cancer she departed this life on Saturday 22 April at the age of 71. She was born in Steurhof and spent most of her adult life in Square Hill, Retreat where her mother, an exceptionally hardworking woman was the local midwife.

Pam started a nursing career at Victoria hospital but then met the love of her life, Clive Fester who literally swept her off her feet to devote all her time to her family and the many friends who

frequented their home in Portlands, Mitchell’s Plain. Pam had an incredible memory and was the repository of the family history. She leaves an indelible mark on many lives.

Surviving Pamela is her loving husband, Clive, her children Bradley, Graham, Gail, their partners and their children as well as her sisters Esme and Sandy, their children and a host of family and friends.

May she repose in peace and rise in glory.

Memorials may be made to the Nurse Mostert Scholarship, which supports young women entering the nursing profession. To contribute please contact the office for more details.

STATEMENT ON EARTHQUAKE IN TURKEY AND SYRIA

On behalf of the World Methodist Council, Bishop Ivan Abrahams conveyed condolences to the Turkish and Syrian governments and relatives of people who lost loved ones in the earthquake that struck in the early hours of Monday morning.

Five thousand people are known to have died, and thousands more have been left destitute. Abrahams said; “This tragedy requires a global response, and he appealed to Methodists people and relief agencies to support the search and rescue efforts and assist the survivors. “Our hearts go out to all those who are bereaved and we continue to pray for a speedy recovery for the injured.”   

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.