After a fruitful and inspiring week at Wesley’s Chapel with the Council I departed for a meeting at the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva, Switzerland. There I enjoyed another week debating and pondering the church’s role in an ever-changing world. This was one of my final meetings as a member of the Executive Committee, a position that I will forever be grateful for having.
As I returned home I was greeted with the news of the deadly attacks in Nairobi and Peshawar. I prayed and grieved for those who suffered due to this intolerance, and I found myself like many others asking how something like this could happen. I also found solace in my work.
The Council issued a statement asking for prayer and understanding. I also revisited my time in Geneva and a statement that was drafted for the World Council of Churches on the Rights of Religious Minorities.
The document, which will be presented at the WCC’s Tenth Assembly in Busan, South Korea, aims to bring together groups of religious leaders, politicians, scholars and activist to address issues such as politicization of religion, the rise of religious intolerance that leads to discrimination and human rights violations of religious minorities.
I truly believe that this is an important conversation that needs to be held.
The WCC and the World Methodist Council work as communicative bodies. They are both designed to build consensus and for every voice to be heard in a world where distance, language and economic disparity can often silence those essential thoughts and opinions.
Why aren’t the voices of Christians being heard and valued in Pakistan? Why are their churches being bombed? What is happening in Kenya that allows a small group of Muslims to feel so marginalized that they would resort to the killing of innocents in a shopping mall? What prompts someone to burn down the Argentine Evangelical Methodist Church in Rosario, Argentina?
These are questions that we must be willing to ask of ourselves and those around us. I am not sure of the answer to these questions, but I know that through respectful dialogue a, a renewed spirituality and a deep commitment to justice we can make this world a better place for all God’s people.