EVENT – Friendships: The Heart of Ecumenical Witness

Friendship is at the heart of much ecumenical engagement in social action, according to recent research carried out at the University of Roehampton.

In this webinar Dr Clare Watkins and Dr James Butler share the findings of their research project about how Catholics and Methodist engaged together in social action. They will discuss themes such as the importance of friendship, the ways denomination and tradition influence and shape social action in practice and the light that these findings shed on the kinds of everyday ecumenism of which social action is an example.

While the project builds on specific friendships and work between Methodist and Catholics, the webinar and the report from the research speaks to a wider ecumenical landscape with implications for the ways a wide variety of traditions and denominations can work together in social action.

The webinar will present themes and insights from the research before opening up into wider conversations about ecumenism, social action, tradition and friendship.

The webinar is Wednesday, 24 May 2023 at 18:45 UK/19:45 Rome.

The webinar is organized by Churches Together in England, the Southlands Methodist Trust, and the University of Roehampton.

Click here to register for the webinar.

EVENT – Global Peace Prayer on 22 March

A communique from a prayer planning committee explained that Christians are called into prayer and advocacy for peace. “In a global context where war and violence abound, the practice of peace has become even more urgent,” reads the message.

The message also notes that the war in Ukraine has entered its second year while, simultaneously, escalating violence in Palestine, continuing military exercises threatening peace on the Korean Peninsula, state violence in Myanmar, a fragile situation in Ethiopia, and war in several other parts of the world threaten peace.

Last year, the World Methodist Council, the Conference of European Churches, Baptist World Alliance, Lutheran World Federation, Mennonite World Conference, and World Communion of Reformed Churches organized an online global peace prayer attended by more than 5,000 people from 150 countries.

This year, the World Methodist Council, other Christian world communions, and the World Council of Churches will be organizing a Global Peace Prayer on 22 March.

The event will be conducted primarily in English. Translation will be provided in Spanish, French, Ukrainian and other languages will be provided.

WHEN: Wednesday, 22 March 2023 at 15:00 (Rome time)

WHERE: Online, please register here.

VIDEO – Methodist-Salvation Army Dialogue Marks 10 Years Since Completion with ‘Working Together in Misison’ Webinar – 22 November 2021

Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, Geneva Secretary of the World Methodist Council, reported:

An audience of about 80 people attended a webinar jointly organized by the World Methodist Council and the Salvation Army on 20 November.

Salvation Army General Brian Peddle and the WMC General Secretary Ivan Abrahams both challenged the participants to take up the Wesleyan call to holiness and to witness Christ in the current age Looking back to the dialogue with the Salvation Army which ended 2011, the Methodist co-chair Rev. Paul Chilcote said: “Talking with Salvationists was like a reunion with cousins around the table.” He highlighted that the report which was adopted 2011 is “action oriented”, underlined by the remarks of Lieut. Colonel Karen Shakespeare, who was one of the Salvationists in the dialogue team. She said: “We have learned that entering into partnerships sometimes allows us to more fully and effectively serve with love and compassion, teach the truths of the gospel clearly, and work to bring about God’s mission in a wounded and broken world.”

According to the theme of the dialogue report: “Working Together in Mission: Witness, Education, and Service”, we were introduced to a joint work with migrants at the Mexican/US border. “We put the learnings of the dialogue into action before we knew that there was a dialogue”, Bishop Felipe de Jésus Ruiz Agui- lar from the Methodist Church in Mexico said. Together with the Salvation Army, Methodists distribute food and clothes, offer legal assistance, and accompany those who got stranded at the border. He and Major Gerardo Ortiz were convinced: “We can do more because we work together.” Rev. Glen O’Brien from the Uniting Church in Australia serves as researcher at an institution of the Salvation Army, Eva Burrows College in Melbourne. He reported of several colleges and universities where the WMC member churches and the Salvation Army are cooperating in the field of Theological Education.

An inspiring example of witnessing the faith is “Oasis Recovery Church” in Sheffield, UK. Andy Parkinson and Paul Huggins, both working within the Salvation Army, told us that the cooperation with the Methodist Church and other partners bears fruits: People feel at home at Oasis: “We all need recovery, …not only from substances, but from all areas of our lives including the ef- fects of COVID-19.” Oasis proves: Creating one congregation with members of different churches is possible, if there is a com- mon vision and a commitment to build up the kingdom of God, not just a denomination. The webinar was organized to recall the dialogue and share best practices for working together in God’s mission.

First Friday Letter, the World Methodist Council, December 2021

ENCOUNTER – MEOR Director and Vatican’s Ecumenical Cardinal Discuss Wesley’s Spiritual Experience at Aldersgate Street

At a luncheon at the Anglican Centre in Rome on 25 May 2021, MEOR director Matthew A. Laferty shared about John Wesley’s spiritual experience at Aldersgate Street on 24 May 1738 with H.Em. Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Wesley, the founder of the Methodist revival, reluctantly attended a Moravian prayer meeting on 24 May 1738 at Aldersgate Street in London.  As he heard a reading from Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans, he felt his “heart strangely warmed.”   Wesley wrote in his journal that at about 8:45 p.m. “while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

The Rev. Matthew A. Laferty (right), the director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome, presents H.Em. Cardinal Kurt Koch (right), president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, a book Methodistiche Kirche on 25 Mary 2021 in observance of Aldersgate Day. Photo by Kamla Ernest.