Greetings from Germany, the birthplace of the Reformation! What a joy and a blessing it is to meet up with old acquaintances and forge new friendships at the 26th General Council of the World Communion of Reformed Churches in Leipzig, gathering under the theme, “Living God, Renew and Transform us.” Rev. Dr. J.C. Park, Bishop Rosemarie Wenner and I participated in a landmark event in Wittenberg on 5 July where the World Communion of Reformed Churches became the fourth party to sign the Joint Declaration of the Doctrine of Justification as accepted by Catholics, Lutherans, and Methodists. It is significant that the signing took place in the year that we celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in the church where Luther preached. Building on our shared affirmation of the basic truths of the doctrine of justification, Catholics, Lutherans and Methodists and Reformed commit ourselves to deepen our common understanding of justification in theological study, teaching, and preaching and work towards full communion and common witness to the world.
While the commemoration and celebrations in Wittenberg was a seminal event, this was not the only exciting moment in the World Methodist Council schedule. The chairperson of the Inter-religious Standing Committee and the members of the Methodist Liaison Office in the Holy Land had the extraordinary privilege of meeting with members of EcoPeace, Middle East. Our journey to Jordan, Palestine, and Israel came on the eve of commemorating 50 years of occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. This year also marks 100 years since the Balfour Declaration and 70 years since the creation of the State of Israel which saw the displacement of 800 Palestinians. On 21 June 2017, the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine published an open letter to the ecumenical movement in which they called for solidarity and declared. “this is the last chance to achieve a just peace……and to save the Christian presence in this land.”
The Director of the World Methodist Museum, Jackie Bolden, traveled to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History recently to help unveil a year-long exhibit which highlights Methodism in early America. Mrs. Bolden coordinated the loan of Francis Asbury’s Trunk and an early Methodist hymnal to the museum for the exhibit.
Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, WMC’s Geneva Secretary, attended the WCC’s Executive Committee Meeting in Bossey, Switzerland, and visited the WCC’s headquarters in Geneva. She shared with us her experiences and insight.
The New Room in Bristol celebrated a re-dedication service following renovations and addition of a new museum, library, and education wing.
It is so encouraging to see the wealth of vibrant activity happening in our global Methodist Connexion! I urge you to send us news from your church so that we may share it on our social media and news streams.