Sister and Brothers in Christ,
This year we mark the 130th anniversary of May Day or International Workers Day. It is officially celebrated in 66 countries and recognised in much more, but ironically it is not celebrated in the country which led the workers revolution.
On May 1, 1886, thousands of workers across the United States who toiled in unsafe working conditions often with their children to supplement their meagre income, had enough and led a workers revolution with Chicago as the epicentre. The spirit and sacrifices of those gallant workers at Haymarket encouraged the struggles of working people everywhere.
Today the ideology of neoliberalism seems to want to roll-back the hard fought fundamental rights of workers. God never destined humans to be enslaved by work. Churches should support all organisations that help workers gain control over their lives to become meaningful and responsible participants in God’s liberating activity. Methodists on every continent have a proud history of supporting workers in their struggle for dignity.
The Month of May has also been declared Africa Month to celebrate the formation of the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) on May 25, 1963. It is sad that the OAU was birthed almost 80 years after the Berlin Conference where 14 European nations without any African representation determined the political, economic future of the continent. This year’s theme is; Building a Better Africa and a Better World: For Peace and Friendship. I appeal to the Global Methodist Movement to use this month to network, celebrate successes and work for the continued development of the continent. I am reminded of the words of Stephen Bantu Biko who claimed; “The great powers of the world have done wonders in giving the world an industrial and military look but the greatest gift still has to come from Africa – giving the world a more human face”. Let us work together to make this prophecy a reality for all God’s children everywhere.
In this issue, you will find celebrations including a release from prison and a clergy and lay person who received top professional honors. You’ll read about how a group of women are changing the lives of the fatherless and the widow/widower. The Methodist Church in Fiji and the United Methodist Church USA are both working toward greater understanding through ecumenical efforts. You’ll also ready about the efforts of UnitingJustice (Australia), the South African Council of Churches, and the Philippines Central Conference of The United Methodist Church are providing support and advocating to bring about justice and reconciliation.
Please pray for the United Methodist Church, African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and Wesleyan Church General Conferences that take place over the next few weeks and months.