The Year of Unity 2018

As the year approaches its end, receive greetings and prayers from the Methodist Connexional Office. Conference has come and gone, but its work continues as each member, local congregation, Circuit, District and Organisation reflect and act on the Message to the Methodist People. I have no doubt that the Methodist people will respond obediently as we together discern what God is calling us to be and to do at this time. Such response will differ from context to context, but the passion and zeal will be the same.

I write this message in October 2017 when the groans of creation are evident in natural disasters; the pain of hunger is loud and societal broken-ness expressed in tolerated violent actions and dehumanising abuse. What are we called to do at this time? Among our responses we cannot ignore the following:

October 16th was World Food Day – a loud reminder not to look away from those without food and together in our mission areas, even beyond these boundaries, we have to work together in food security initiatives which include but are not limited to; food production, food preservation and food sharing.

Holding conversations across Society/Circuit barriers, that deal with all livelihoods related matters from a spiritual point of view.

At Conference we also affirmed the earth as God’s precious creation and that the earth and all of creation belong to God. The recent storms and natural disasters around the Connexion and the globe are in part a loud groan of creation. Conference reflected on the theme: Being Together with God’s creation. What do we understand this call to mean? As we reflect and interact with each other:

Let us express God’s compassion as we care for each other and creation and set the stage for life giving future action.

Listen together as we respond to the call to care for creation and become “Wesleyan earth keepers.”

Let us take time to experience first- hand the living conditions of one another.

In light of the escalating violent attacks and actions as well as our deeply fractured society:

We need to re-imagine being and doing church in ways that demonstrate divine intention that transcends all forms of difference.

Actively organise events that demonstrate a recognition of each other’s humanity despite our differences.

Towards a better future:

Congregations with diverse congregations, must organize events and worship in ways that acknowledge the dignity of all and foster unity.

Prioritize the safety of all children and vulnerable people.

Find innovative ways of providing access to quality early childhood development opportunities.

As 2018 marks sixty years of the MCSA statement that it is the will of God that we be one and undivided, let each local congregation be intentional in demonstrating the oneness that Jesus prayed for in John 17:21. Any bitterness, prejudice, oppressive behaviour, or abuse must not be tolerated among us.

We are a ‘transforming discipleship movement – TOGETHER!