VIDEO – History of the International Methodist-Roman Catholic Dialogue from 2006 – 2021 by the Rev. Dr. David Chapman from the Methodist Church of Great Britain

On 11 May 2021, the Rev. Dr. David Chapman, a presbyter from the Methodist Church Britain and Methodist co-chair of the Methodist-Roman Catholic International Commission, presented on the history of the international Methodist-Catholic bilateral dialogue from 2006 to 2021 in a webinar entitled, “Grace and Holiness: Catholics and Methodists in Dialogue, 2006-21”. His recorded lecture is available on YouTube.

BIOGRAPHY – The Revd. Dr. David Chapman is the Methodist co-chair of the Methodist-Roman Catholic International Commission since 2011. He is a presbyter of the Methodist Church in Great Britain where he presently serves as Chair of the Bedfordshire, Essex and Hertfordshire District. He has a PhD in theology from the University of Cambridge and is a member of the British Methodist Faith and Order Committee and the World Methodist Council. He is the author of In search of the catholic spirit: Methodists and Roman Catholics in Dialogue and has contributed to numerous published volumes and journals on topics relating to Methodist theology and ecumenism.

ENCOUNTER – MEOR Director Visits Focolare Movement International Headquarters

On 14 June 2021, the Rev. Matthew A. Laferty, director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome, visited Centro Uno and the international headquarters of the Focolare Movement today in Rocca di Papa outside Rome to learn about the Focolare Movement, the spirituality and legacy of their founder Chiara Lubich, and share about the work of the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome. The Focolare Mocement which means “hearth” in Italian is a Catholic lay movement with a special call for dialogue and Christian unity.

NEWS – MEOR Director Greets Italian Methodist Consultation on 30 May

The Rev. Matthew A. Laferty, director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome, gave a greeting to the Italian Methodist Consultation during its annual session on 30 May 2021 to over 90 Methodist pastors and lay leaders. Italian Methodists are in a union church with the Waldensians to form the Union of Methodist and Waldensian Churches in Italy; they share one Synod (governing body). There is also an annual meeting of all the Methodist leaders in Italy once a year to discuss unique issues affecting the Methodist congregations and to strengthen the Methodist identity. The Consultation was held online this year due to the ongoing pandemic.

Rev. Laferty’s greeting is below:

Gentile presidente Mirella Manocchio, sorelle e fratelli metodisti italiani,

Grazia a voi da Dio Padre e dal Signore Gesù Cristo.

È una gioia portarvi i saluti dell’Ufficio Ecumenico Metodista di Roma. Mi chiamo Matthew Laferty e un pastore della Chiesa Metodista Unita. Da settembre sono il direttore dell’Ufficio Ecumenico Metodista di Roma e sono lieto di lavorare a fianco dei metodisti in Italia per l’unità della Chiesa. MEOR è un ministero e una collaborazione fra il Consiglio Metodista Mondiale, l’OPCEMI, il Consiglio Metodista Europeo, la Chiesa Metodista Unita e la Chiesa Metodista Britannica per promuovere il dialogo e l’unità dei cristiani, per cercare azioni congiunte per la pace e la giustizia, e per offrire ospitalità, preghiera e riflessione.

Metterò brevemente in evidenza alcuni progetti attualmente in sviluppo.

1. Stiamo lavorando ad un progetto su Roma come città di pellegrinaggio per i metodisti, per rivendicare Roma come città dell’ecumenismo celebrando la diversità del cristianesimo a Roma.

2. MEOR ha avviato diverse conversazioni con i nostri fratelli cristiani ortodossi per pregare insieme e pensare a come possiamo avviare una maggiore condivisione e apprendimento tra metodisti e ortodossi.

3. Il rapporto finale del Dialogo Internazionale Metodista-Cattolico sarà pubblicato in autunno. Il tema del rapporto è la riconciliazione con un capitolo dedicato alla giustizia climatica e alla costruzione della pace come grandi questioni di riconciliazione. Stiamo creando un programma per il prossimo anno per promuovere il lavoro svolto dai metodisti in queste aree di giustizia climatica e costruzione della pace.

Ringrazio l’OPCEMI e tutta la comunità metodista d’Italia per il loro sostegno, ospitalità e generosità e per una lunga, buona e fruttuosa collaborazione.

Grazie per la vostra attenzione.

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.

NEWS – World Methodist Council and Other International Church-Based Organizations Urge Colombian President to Stop Spiral of Violence

The World Council of Churches, ACT Alliance, Lutheran World Federation, World Communion of Reformed Churches, Anglican Communion, World Methodist Council, Latin American Episcopal Council  and World Association for Christian Communication, in a letter sent 18 May, urged Colombian president Iván Duque Marquéz to stop the spiral of violence that is doing terrible harm to the civilian population.

“While we acknowledge that the government is dealing with a very complex situation, we believe the focus now must not be on repressing popular protests, but rather to listen to the people’s voices with empathy and without resorting to violence, and to begin to seriously address the root causes of the mass mobilisation of the Colombian people,” the letter reads.

Colombia has now entered a third week of national protests. More than 40 people have been killed, hundreds have gone missing and thousands have been injured as a result of the security response.

“We believe that as head of government you will call the Colombian authorities to remember and fulfil their primary responsibility which is the protection of the Colombian people,” reads the letter. “We pray that you will resist and reject the calls for more violence and greater use of force against activists.”

The signatories added that they will continue to monitor the situation in Colombia closely and with great concern, praying for a just and peaceful resolution to the current crisis, and remain committed to supporting dialogue between the different stakeholders as the only path to such a resolution.

“We look forward to your response, and wish you grace and peace in the fulfilment of your responsibilities,” the letter concludes.

Read the text of the full letter here in PDF format (123 KB).

NEWS – Colombian Methodist Bishop Issues Pastoral Letter on Recent Violence and Killings

In response to recent events in Colombia, Bishop Luis Andrés Caicedo Guayara of the Iglesia Colombiana Metodista (Methodist Church of Colombia) issued a pastoral letter.

“Justice shall bring peace, calm and trust forever” (Isaiah 32:17)

To the public, our brothers and sisters in faith, the government of the Republic of Colombia, all government and state bodies, sisters and brothers of our churches and all men and women in our society: Grace, Justice, Peace and Love in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We, the Colombian Methodist Church, who through various ministries are part of the people that inhabit the diverse municipalities of our cities, villages, neighborhoods, indigenous territories. By the grace of God, we are farmers, laborers, students, workers, guardians of our homes, women in leadership, Afro-Colombian leaders, LGBTQI population, teachers, professionals in different areas of knowledge, small business owners, defenders of human rights, participants in diverse social groups, doctors, nurses, health workers, informal workers, unemployed, displaced, dispatchers, etc.; who in our communities preach the gospel among our families, state with profound concern the dangerous and degrading socio-economic situation aggravated by covid-19 which affects above all, the most vulnerable impoverished population of our dear country. We wish to manifest the following pastorally and prophetically:

We bear witness because if we are silent, the stones will cry out (Luke 19:39-40). We state with outrageous astonishment and pain of our own and of our neighbors, that the economic measures announced by the government, which according to experts deepen inequality and injustice (tax reform, labor reform, and health reform) persist in maintaining the gaps of inequality, poverty and ignorance of the reality in which we live day by day. Because these measures favor rich financial capital and consortium banks and deteriorate the middle and lower class, we are equally alarmed by the non-compliance and neglect for consecrated health personnel.

Additionally, the complicit silence regarding the repeated massacres and killing of men and women who lead various production processes and social organizations, human rights defenders, youth organizations; the non-compliance with previous agreements with the various indigenous reservations; add to the official opposition and apathy that leads to a systemic dismantling and delegitimization of the hopeful Peace Agreements between the previous government and the FARC-EP and therefore the interest in eliminating the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP).

We also state that the degradation of the country is confirmed by the shameful statistics and acts of corruption of the state entities themselves, exemplified by the unscrupulous and colossal salaries and allowances for the highest officials, wasting the resources that the general public pays in taxes. This undoubtedly has become an oppressive act that has opened and deepened the wounds in the population’s feelings and conscience, likewise producing a general loss of trust in leadership.   

We state that the government’s response to such a deep crisis has been ineffective, incompetent and erroneous, which can push us into a maze with no way out, conducive to unleashing an outbreak of violence, destruction and death. There have already been dangerous signs of this risk in recent days. We fearfully warn that such risk is eminent because the government turns a blind eye to the face of the country’s critical reality. By ignoring this reality, the government assumes arrogant positions and throws smoke screens, possibly guided by ideology or in obedience of orders from national and international neoliberal powers, responding by militarizing cities and roads and repressing and killing our Colombian brothers and sisters.

We conceive almost as our own the heartbreaking cry of the multitudes who cry out for justice in peaceful protests on the streets, social media, independent media, among other sectors and social actors, who out of a conscience of just change for all, lift up their voices to raise awareness of the absence of rights, not only in existence but also in quality; people who suffer unemployment and informal work, displaced people and families of false positives, who groan without government assistance. This heartbreaking cry is a groan that reaches God just as it occurred in the deliverance from Egypt (“… I have observed the misery of my people… and I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I have known their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them.” Exodus 3:7) The people’s spirituality and faith trust that “this poor man cried out and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles”(Psalm 34:6).

We as shepherds and sheep of the fold of the Lord Jesus Christ, call on the Executive power, Congress of the Republic, Judicial power, large capital businesses, financial sector and its banks, public force, political parties, mass media and churches to put down the ideological and materialistic attitude of ignoring the cries, groans, protests, demonstrations, marches, art, critical analysis and slogans because in these manifestations there is an encouraging message of a protest that always harbors around an aspiration and hope of change for the common good.

In the same way, we radically oppose the acts of vandalism from small groups from infiltrated suspects with the intention of degenerating the protest marches with the malevolent aim of confusing public opinion, stigmatizing legitimate marches and thus making a way for forceful and repressive government intervention, unscrupulously repressing the population.

Finally, we want to say to the multitudes of people that go out to march in peace that you have the constitutional right to do so and furthermore, that the Lord is with justice and with you and through you we preach the Gospel for the same reasons that you have come together to protest and march to demand justice. Because God has heard our prayer (Psalm 66:19)

We reaffirm our commitment and our call to the dialogue among equals between the national government and the various forces that are mobilizing in the protests. We earnestly ask for prudence mad wisdom from both parts, to cast aside the use of force and humbly abandon the arrogance and intervention of foreign financial, ideological and political forces. An authentic dialogue between compatriots, between public servants and the rest of the population in legitimate acts of protest. This will be the wise attitude that will lead us to reconciliation, unity, justice and then peace: “Wisdom cries out in the street; in the squares she raises her voice, she cries out at the entrance of city gates. How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple, relish your mocking and hate knowledge?” (Proverbs 1:20-22)

For the Colombian Methodist Church, its members, its various ministries for women, children, youth, health, etc. its national board and other entities:

Rev. Luis Andrés Caicedo Guayara
Bishop
Iglesia Colombiana Metodista

Read Bishop Luis’ letter in Spanish in PDF format (596 KB)