Since the World Methodist Conference in Houston, I’ve had a punishing travel schedule visiting churches and attending meetings in Nigeria, South Africa, Italy, England and Sweden. I had the rare privilege of meeting with leaders of the ecumenical family and Pope Francis twice in one month (in Rome at the meeting of Secretaries of World Communions and the launch of the year-long commemoration of the Protestant Reformation that divided Western Christianity into the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches).
Lutheran and Catholics co-hosted the 500th anniversary Reformation on 31 October in Lund, Sweden under the meaningful theme, “From Conflict to Communion – Together in Hope.” The joint commemoration was structured around thanksgiving, repentance and a commitment to joint witness and service. These actions are significant given that on 31 October 1517 Martin Luther posted his disputation on the power and efficacy of indulgences, better known as the 95 Thesis, to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. In 1545, the Council of Trent denied the Lutheran idea of justification by faith, and for over 400 years the relationship between the Roman Catholic and Lutheran Church was strained until the 1970’s when both churches engaged in dialogue which ultimately led to the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) in 1988. In 2006, the World Methodist Council affirmed the JDDI. The Methodists affirmation of the JDDJ confirmed the long standing un-pronounced relationship inherited from the Anglican church’s break with Rome and the Eastern churches. Furthermore, our separation from Calvinism and the Lutheran churches is almost by accident of language and culture . Together with the larger ecumenical family, we stand in solidarity and rejoice with the Catholic and Lutheran Churches.
Together with people of goodwill and faith communities, I signed the COP22 Interfaith Climate Statement. Dr Lois Wilson, former President of the World Council of Churches and first woman moderator of the United Church of Canada, gave advice which I have taken seriously when she claimed that; “to heal our broken world and wounded planet we need the spiritual resources of every faith community”. She further proposed four ingredients for inter-faith encounter; a fish-eye lense to get a broader view of each other, a hearing aid to help hear each other more clearly; a clothes peg for our mouths and flippers to swim against the tide.”
Our Conference theme “ONE” will guide the work of the WMC Standing Committees over the next quinquennium. We need to remember that the Methodist family is UNITED but not UNIFORM; DIVERSE but not DIVIDED.
With best wishes for a joyful Advent Season.
 H, Hahn, 2015. Why Martin Luther Matters to the United Methodist Church. Wittenberg.
 J, Nicholas 2002. Reading Wesley in the light of Joint Declaration of Justification. Toronto: University of St Michaels College.