I can’t believe that we have already reached the midpoint of a very challenging year. In the Northern Hemisphere winter is already a just a memory while many people in the Southern Hemisphere pray for winter rains to break the crippling drought and end the famine in places like South Sudan. The United Nations reports that South Sudan has become the world’s fastest growing crisis with 1.8 million refugees. On 21 May, the World Methodist Council joined more than 100 global, regional and national faith-based organizations and churches representing more than one billion people of faith, to gather in our communities of worship to observe the Global Day of Prayer to End Famine.
Midyear is a good time to pause and take stock of the health of our planetary home, earth. It is sad that the President of the United States plans to pull out of the Paris Accord on climate change, which is supported by almost 200 nations in limiting fossil fuel pollution to stop global warming. Many faith communities have acknowledged their failure to care for creation, and in 2009, the World Methodist Council Social & International Affairs Committee released a statement encouraging member churches to get involved. The scientific consensus is clear that human activities are leading to a warming. We all have a responsibility to care for the earth, our only home. We have no other.
During this Holy Month of Ramadan, and as Christians prepare for the Feast of Pentecost, we mourn with the people of Manchester (UK), Damascus, Hasakah & Hama (Syria); Hawija & Baghdad (Iraq); Mastung (Pakistan); Wadi al Shatii (Libya); Zabul and Kabul (Afghanistan) and the countless other attacks carried out at the behest of terrorist groups during just the last month. A report by the United States National Counter-terrorism Center found, “In cases where religious affiliation could be determined, Muslims suffered between 82 and 97 percent of fatalities over the past five years.” It also claims that Muslims are seven times more likely than non-Muslims to be victims of terror. Let us use the resources of all faith communities to work for peace. Later this month, the chairperson of the Inter-Religious Relationship Committee, Rev Dr Reynaldo Leão Neto and I join the staff of the Methodist Liaison Office in Jerusalem and our partners EcoPeace Middle East to visit projects in the region.
The commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation on Namibian soil was a memorable event. Next month the President of the Council, Dr JC Park and I will share in a further celebration of the Reformation when we participate in the World Communion of Reformed Churches General Assembly in Leipzig, Germany.
I trust that during the past 10 days (25thMay -4th June) you were able to join the global wave of prayer via www.thykingdomcome.global, and Pledge2Pray individually, as a family, as a church with people around the world to discover new ways of praying for friends, family and neighbours.
May this Pentecost be a time of grace and rich blessings.