July started off with an inspiring Council Meeting in Seoul, Korea. I saw young people and adult workers from around the world descend on Johannesburg, for the Fourth Young People’s Convocation of the United Methodist Church (see following summary from Bishop Wenner), followed by a host of events dedicated to preserving the legacy of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s greatest statesman and recipient of the World Methodist Peace Award. He would have turned 100 on July 18.
We pray that the recent elections in Zimbabwe, Mali, Togo, South Sudan, Pakistan, Mexico and Cambodia will usher a new dawn in all these countries.
During the past few weeks, we saw fires, floods, and heatwaves on three continents. Many cities in the Northern Hemisphere recorded temperatures. Is this the face of climate change and global warming? The Council conveys sincere condolences to people who lost loved ones in Mati, Greece, Carr, California and other areas affected by fires and floods. We pray God’s mercy and grace upon all affected.
On Friday, July 27 many of us witnessed a phenomenal event – the longest “blood moon” or total lunar eclipse this century. According to NASA, the moon spent nearly 4 hours in the Earth’s umbral shadow. Lunar eclipses have spurned many myths and legends. The Bible has a few references of the moon turning to blood (Joel 2:10, Ezekiel 32:7, Matt 24:29, Acts 2:20, Rev 6:14). It is sad that some fringe groups who equate normal astrological events with cataclysmic consequences. I often counsel that rather than looking to the sky for celestial signs of God’s judgment, let us root out injustice and care for God’s creation so that we live in harmony with nature and each other on earth, our only planetary home.
Other events that put our finger on the pulse and gives us a sense of the heartbeat of the Wesleyan Movements like Zimbabwe Churches March for peace, Reunification Prayer for the Korean Peninsula, and WesleyMen Korea becoming official. You will also learn about the passing of WM President Edith Loane, the BGS announcement of the new Sunday School and Discipleship Director and how two denominations explore their Methodist Connection. How a Church Daycare Feeds Minds and Bellies, Nazarene Generosity leads to Russian Resources, and CCA’s Ecumenical leadership development conferences also makes interesting reading in this edition of the FFL.
Grace and Peace