March is upon us bringing a quilted patchwork of brown and yellow color to the landscape for those in the southern hemisphere. In the north, the snow is melting and people are putting away their winter woolies preparing to welcome Spring, the bridesmaid of Summer. The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes is right, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven”.
During February, many in the United States celebrated Black History Month (in Britain it is celebrated in October). Black excellence is celebrated and public figures and sportspersons are showcased. I had the privilege of seeing a magnificent production of, “The Color Purple” as well as the box office hit, “Black Panther”. I trust that the movie has awakened pride and joy in many persons of African descent. There are many lessons for young people to be learn from both the musical and the movie especially as we prepare for the 4th Industrial Revolution which promises to close the gap between north and south and rich and poor. The fictional Wanda provides more than just the hope of prosperity for all. Where resources are properly managed, African countries are showing double digit economic growth (See Foresight Africa; Top Priorities for the Continent 2018)
Last month I also had the opportunity to deliver the keynote address: “A United Africa for Missionary Opportunities” at the Africa Methodist Council Leader’s Summit in Nairobi, February, 21-24. The Summit was held in preparation for the launch of the African Methodist Council to be held next year.
This issue of the First Friday Letter celebrates the life of Billy Graham, the fiftieth anniversary of the Church in Cuba, the election of a new bishop in Chile, the appointment of Dr. Casey Essamuah as head of GCF and the award received by Bishop Lawrence Reddick on behalf of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
The last month has seen senseless acts of terror at schools in the United States and Nigeria. As Methodists, we condemn violence and intimidation as a means of coercion, and we especially condemn such actions toward children. The Lenten season speaks to us of renewal and hope, so we pray for these nations and others facing similar struggles – and pray especially for peace in our world.
I pray that you will have a blessed Lenten journey.