Statement by The World Methodist Council – COVID-19

The World Methodist Council joins the world in prayer. It seeks ways to offer comfort to
people who are dealing with the Coronavirus, which the World Health Organisation has
declared a global pandemic.


“Our prayers are with the many people around the world who are affected directly or
indirectly because of this pandemic,” said Council General Secretary Ivan Abrahams. He
reminds us that in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, we are encouraged to build each other up. “We ask
everyone in the Methodist and Wesleyan family to pray and to offer support in ways that fit
the needs of their local area. Physical and mental health is affected as people are ill,
isolated, and uncertain,” he said.


The Council is and will continue to make adjustments, cancel meetings, and reach out to
others. The prestigious Annual Peace Award Ceremony planned for 27 March at Central Hall, London,
UK, for the Rev. Dr. Inderjit Bhogal has been postponed. May we continue to pray for peace
in the world and people’s lives at this time of uncertainty and insecurity.


As the Council receives communications and information regarding the COVID-19, we are
aware of the significant challenges arising daily.  The virus is spreading rapidly, and there are
announcements of an increasing number of cases reported throughout the world.    


Everyday life, including church services and meetings, have and will continue to be cancelled
and rescheduled to slow down the rate of infection. While it is unfamiliar territory, health
care professionals advise that these precautions are necessary.


The WMC General Secretary further encouraged member churches to seek creative ways of
dealing with the pandemic, which presents new opportunities for service. He challenged us
to spread the love of God through sharing resources during these trying times. He stated
that the only way to overcome this pandemic is for all sectors of society (government,
private, civil, religious) to work together.


With the awareness that so many are dependent on church ministries, the Council hopes
you will continue to support these ministries and missions in new and unique ways.


It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31: 8

Churches Week of Action on Food is October 13-20

Christians of all denominations and traditions are encouraged to rejoice and give thanks for God’s abundant provisions and to think of ways to share God’s gifts, so that all have enough. Jesus’ parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14: 15-24) is used for inspiration and reflection. The image of a banquet refers to abundance, fellowship, joy and hope. All are invited.

But in today’s world, far too many people have no access to healthy nutrition. This is not because there is a lack of food, but because people fail to share so that all are able to partake in the feast of life.

The World Methodist Council family and ecumenical partners joined in producing liturgical materials and reflections for the 2019 Churches’ Week of Action on Food. This initiative of the World Council of Churches and the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance offers support to churches in their ministries for food justice, equity, sustainability, and the alleviation of hunger and poverty around the globe.

Authored by people from around the world, it offers a taste of how differently we look at food security, healthy nutrition and a fair process of sharing earthly resources. There are examples of how churches might feed the hungry and expand love and hope. These reflections and liturgy for Holy Communion can be used in worships, prayer meetings and Bible study groups throughout the Churches Week of Action on Food and beyond. The material is available at:
https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/churches-week-of-action-on-food-2019

Churches Week of Action on Food is October 13-20

Christians of all denominations and traditions are encouraged to rejoice and give thanks for God’s abundant provisions and to think of ways to share God’s gifts, so that all have enough. Jesus’ parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14: 15-24) is used for inspiration and reflection. The image of a banquet refers to abundance, fellowship, joy and hope. All are invited.

But in today’s world, far too many people have no access to healthy nutrition. This is not because there is a lack of food, but because people fail to share so that all are able to partake in the feast of life.

The World Methodist Council family and ecumenical partners joined in producing liturgical materials and reflections for the 2019 Churches’ Week of Action on Food. This initiative of the World Council of Churches and the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance offers support to churches in their ministries for food justice, equity, sustainability, and the alleviation of hunger and poverty around the globe.

Authored by people from around the world, it offers a taste of how differently we look at food security, healthy nutrition and a fair process of sharing earthly resources. There are examples of how churches might feed the hungry and expand love and hope. These reflections and liturgy for Holy Communion can be used in worships, prayer meetings and Bible study groups throughout the Churches Week of Action on Food and beyond. The material is available at:
https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/churches-week-of-action-on-food-2019

Steering Committee expresses solidarity with Hong Kong Methodists

The World Methodist Council Steering Committee meeting in Mexico City 28-30 August greets you in the name of Christ our risen saviour.

We are deeply conscious of the unrest in Hong Kong and we write to you, our sisters and brothers in the Methodist Church Hong Kong and the Church of Christ in China Hong Kong as fellow members of the WMC, to assure you of our love and solidarity in these difficult times. We greatly respect the ongoing peace building work in which you are engaged.

Our hearts are burdened by the continuing protests in Hong Kong and the conflict this is causing in your society. It is our constant desire that all people live in safety so that we can flourish and fulfill our God-given potential.

We know that we join our prayers with those of the whole global Methodist, United and Uniting Church family as you seek to show God’s love and compassion and seek the way of righteousness.
We are reminded of these words from Colossians 3:12-15 and they are our prayer for you;

“Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.

Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

And, over all these virtues put on love, which binds all together in perfect unity.” (NIV)

Amen.

Steering Committee expresses solidarity with Hong Kong Methodists

The World Methodist Council Steering Committee meeting in Mexico City 28-30 August greets you in the name of Christ our risen saviour.

We are deeply conscious of the unrest in Hong Kong and we write to you, our sisters and brothers in the Methodist Church Hong Kong and the Church of Christ in China Hong Kong as fellow members of the WMC, to assure you of our love and solidarity in these difficult times. We greatly respect the ongoing peace building work in which you are engaged.

Our hearts are burdened by the continuing protests in Hong Kong and the conflict this is causing in your society. It is our constant desire that all people live in safety so that we can flourish and fulfill our God-given potential.

We know that we join our prayers with those of the whole global Methodist, United and Uniting Church family as you seek to show God’s love and compassion and seek the way of righteousness.
We are reminded of these words from Colossians 3:12-15 and they are our prayer for you;

“Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.

Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

And, over all these virtues put on love, which binds all together in perfect unity.” (NIV)

Amen.

Anniversary of Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification Celebrated

Words are inadequate to describe the warmth of the welcome extended by the Methodist Church in Mexico with music, dance, many flavours of food, conversation and prayer. The Steering Committee where possible meets alongside member churches. Meeting in Mexico City the Committee was enriched by the life of the local Church and the dynamic vibrant historic centre of Mexico City. Bishop Dr. Moises Morales and Youth and Young Adults chair, Rev. Samuel Murillo extended a particular welcome before the meeting was constituted with worship and celebration of Holy Communion.

In his opening address President of the Council, Rev. Dr. J.C. Park, among many other concerns noted, “We are living in the ‘Walled World’ in which the 73% of world’s income is own by the 14% of world’s population in the global North while the 27% of world’s income is own by the 86% of world’s population in the global South. The six prominent walls are DMZ-Korea, Australian Northern Approach, The United States-Mexico Wall, The Melilla Border Fence/The Ceuta Border Fence in Northern Africa, Schengen Border in Europe and The Palestine Wall. It is time to move away from complacent Christianity.”

This meeting had a specific focus on climate change and environmental justice. General Secretary Ivan Abrahams quoted a United Nations report, “we risk a ‘climate apartheid’ scenario where the wealthy buy their way out of rising heat and hunger while the rest of the world is left to suffer.” Responses include the Creation Care Summit promoted by the Education Committee. This will result in on-line courses in creation care. Worship resources for the Season of Creation are being collated from member churches. These will be made available to enrich the liturgical response to climate change.

The Uniting Church in Sweden, will host the 22nd World Methodist Conference in Gothenburg with the theme, ‘On the Move’. It is time to begin planning to attend. The Council wants to encourage young people to attend and has given every member church an additional place on the Council for a Youth or Young Adult. Now is the time to think about how that person will be enabled to attend. Details of the Conference are being added to the website as they become available. https://worldmethodistconference.com

The Council has extensive relationships with other churches and ecumenical agencies. Rosemarie Wenner, Geneva Secretary, presented a very detailed report. Of special note was the Consultation on Migration. Forty people from the Methodist family worked together to discern how our churches might respond to the challenges and opportunities. Read the full report at https://worldmethodistcouncil.org/god-is-on-the-move-a-call-to-be-the-church-in-a-new-way/

Celebrations are encouraged to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) on Reformation Day – October 31st. Twenty years from the first signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, there is increased trust and openness as the five world communions (Roman Catholic Church, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Methodist Council, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, and the Anglican Communion) who signed it work more closely together, particularly as regards developing the link between justification and justice, and praying/worshipping together as people who share a common baptism.

The core message of the JDDJ is that “by grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works.”

The resignation of Rev. Tim Macquiban as chair of the Ecumenical Relations Committee was received with deep regret. The Steering Committee has appointed Rev. Tony Franklin-Ross to serve as Chair until the next Council Meeting.

World Methodist Evangelism and the Evangelism Committee reported that the Order of the Flame, a key programme to encourage young clergy, is to be launched outside the USA. The word ‘excited’ was used many times during the presentation as future opportunities were shared.
Theological Education shared the regional Initiative of the South East Asia Study Bible, which is in the process of being translated into regional languages.

Family life spoke of its commitment to ‘Child Friendly Churches’ in conjunction with the World Council of Churches and UNICEF. The report also spoke of a focus on children impacted by environmental justice issues.
The Inter-Religious committee reported on the Pilgrimage to Jordan, Palestine and Israel in conjunction with Eco-peace enabled participants to dialogue with local people and groups, with a particular focus on the use of water and inter-religious peace-making. The Committee is proposing the pilgrimage be repeated during United Nations Harmony week, February 2nd to 7th 2020.

The Council sent greetings, assuring the prayers of the Methodist family, to the Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China and the Methodist Church in Hong Kong in the light of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.
Four members of the Religious Affairs Department of the Mexican Government met with the Council for a productive dialogue. The focus: peace building, human rights and building tolerance between diverse groups in Mexico.

Council Affiliates Wesley Men and World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women reported on their work. Wesley Men are updating their website, see www.Wesleymen.org . WFMUCW have conducted six Area Seminars since February 2018 (in Myanmar, Northern Ireland, Fiji, Hong Kong, Ghana and Brazil) with further seminars in the USA and Kenya planned for the remainder of this year.

The Methodist Ecumenical Office in Rome (MEOR) is currently filled with an interim appointee. The job description has been revised and the position will be advertised with a start date for the new appointee of September 2020.

— World Methodist Council Steering Committee Mexico City, August 28 – 30, 2019

Prayers for Korea

The World Methodist Council invited all its members
churches to assist in spreading the word and calling for
prayer for the Korean Peninsula. Each year, Christians
are invited to join in a prayer for peace and reunification of the Korean Peninsula. Prepared by the National
Council of Churches in Korea and the Korean Christian
Federation, the prayer is traditionally used on the Sunday
before 15 August every year.
The 15th of August, celebrated as Liberation Day in both
North and South Korea, marks the date in 1945 when Korea won independence from Japanese colonial oppression,
yet ironically it also was the day when the peninsula was
divided into two countries.
The Korean Christian Federation Central Committee
(North Korea) and the National Council of Churches in
Korea (South Korea) have composed their annual joint
prayer for peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula
for 2019.

 

Click here for the prayer for Korea

Violence Condemned by WMC

The World Methodist Council responds with shock and sadness to the shootings in El
Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, in which at least 31people were
killed and many injured. We offer our deepest sympathy to the
families of the deceased and injured in these attacks.
We also condemn the tragic and senseless killing in the Boreno,
northeastern state of Borno, Nigerian, which left 65 people dead
and an additional number injured.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends, as well as those throughout
the world who continue to mourn the loss of life. We pray for peace for all people and
condemn violence. We urge all those in positions of influence and responsibility to work
for justice and peace.
Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within
your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. Isaiah
60:18 ESV

Methodist Delegation Sees ‘Bitter Fruits’ of Palestinian Occupation

After a visit to the region, a delegation of Methodist representatives expressed horror at the military occupation of the Palestinian people.

“We witnessed the bitter fruits of military occupation that have fallen disproportionally upon the Palestinian people,” said a statement of the delegation, which was made up of leaders of the World Methodist Council, the British Methodist Church, and the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church. “We heard stories of families being separated, the denial of basic human rights, inequality of treatment, and the need for the Palestinian people to have a voice in the process of governing their own lives and future.”

The group’s visit marked the seventh anniversary of the opening of the Methodist Liaison Office in Jerusalem, jointly sponsored by the three organizations. The delegation visited with individuals, churches and partners. Their goal was to further the office’s mission of engaging the world Methodist family in Christ’s ministry of peace, truth, justice and mercy among all peoples living in the land, in partnership with the Palestinian Christian Community.

The text of the full statement follows:

 

 

 

 

 

STATEMENT ON OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE

We witnessed the bitter fruits of military occupation that have fallen disproportionally upon the Palestinian people. We heard stories of family separation, the denial of basic human rights, inequality of treatment, and the need for the Palestinians to have a voice in the process of governing their own lives and futures. In Gaza, the lack of provision of basic services such as electricity and clean water have reached a point of crisis.

We understand that this is a critical time in history and for the pursuit of a just peace between Palestine and Israel. Global generational shifts, economic changes, issues of climate justice, and the current international political discourse churn on the horizon like a great storm.

We see the beauty and resilience of the people of the land, even in a time where it feels that all optimism could be lost. Despite this feeling, many look toward the future with hope, and they appeal to the world to stand with them in solidarity.

We have seen the suffering of the indigenous Christian community. We join their call to everyone to act decisively to support nonviolent actions for peace and justice for all – Palestinians and Israelis.

We will continue to pray for all people in the region, and to remain there, through our Methodist liaison office, in order to walk in solidarity with those of all faiths who seek justice, peace and equal rights through nonviolent actions.

Blessed are the peacemakers.

Bishop Ivan Abrahams, General Secretary, The World Methodist Council

Rev. Dr. Jong Chun Park, President, The World Methodist Council

Thomas Kemper, General Secretary, General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church

Doug Swanney, The Connexional Secretary, The British Methodist Church