Greetings in the name of our Crucified and Risen Lord, Jesus Christ!
I trust that you had a wonderful Easter and that your watches have been reset after the equinox. Seasonal changes whether Spring (in the northern hemisphere) or Autumn (in the southern hemisphere) are a reminder that time moves on and that we have to make the best of every moment.
I’ve had a busy, but interesting, March spending some time at our headquarters in Lake Junaluska where we did our final planning for the Council Meeting in Seoul. If you have not yet registered, I encourage you to do so (register now)
I have participated in the Order of the Flame for the past six years, but 2018 was no doubt an occasion where the movement of the Holy Spirit was manifest in remarkable ways. The Order of the Flame (a program of World Evangelism) brings together emerging leaders in the Wesleyan tradition. Please nominate clergy under 45 years old to share in this life changing experience.
Mid-March saw Kirby Hickey and myself at Methodist Church House, London, where we met with Ms. Christine Elliott (WMC European Officer), Rev. Dr. R.F. Leão-Neto (Chair of the WMC Interreligious Affairs Committee), and members of the Host Committee of the 2021 Conference to be held in Gothenburg, Sweden. I am also pleased to announce that Rev. Dr. Martyn Atkins has accepted the responsibility to Chair the 2021 Conference Program Committee.
On 21 March, Human Rights Day, we attended the Epworth Old Rectory Trustees Meeting where I had the privilege of opening an exhibition called ‘Over the Rainbow’ related to the national event in June 1990 organised by Methodist Women (then called Network), held in London, as an act of solidarity with women in South Africa. Following the historic event, panels of the ribbon made their way across Britain and the world – to the Black Sash Office in Johannesburg (see http://www.blacksash.org.za), America, Canada, Brussels, Jamaica, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Nigeria, New Zealand, Ghana … and everywhere in between. The message of love and hope and solidarity was taken to all corners of the world. The exhibition features banners plus interpretation about the event and its impact. This event was very special because my mother was part of the Ribbon and Banner Campaign and we drew inspiration and courage to work for a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa from the witness of Methodist Women.
On April 2, we learnt of the passing of a great Methodist matriarch, international icon, and torchbearer of the struggle against apartheid, Winnie Madikizela Mandela. I joined members of the South African Council of Churches to offer support and convey condolences to the Mandela family.
Just two days ago, on April 4, we remembered that it was fifty years since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. We recall his legacy of sanity, dignity and nonviolence in the face of continued racism and bigotry. To honour the legacy of Martin Luther King and Winnie Mandela, let us work indefatigably to root our racism and injustice. Let’s take action so that race will not become a factor in what we are able to achieve.