“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
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
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
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
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