European UMC Bishops Plead for Respectful Coexistence
Three European Bishops of the United Methodist Church (UMC) addressed the international United Methodist community on the 22nd February 2021 with a statement of respectful coexistence. The three bishops, Christian Alsted (Nordic and Baltic Area), Harald Rückert (Germany) and Patrick Streiff (Central and Southern Europe), speak out in their statement that the unity of the UMC should be preserved. They promise to work together for a Methodist Church in which people with different convictions will continue to have their place.
The EMC meeting that was due to take place in Stuttgart in September took place online due to the Covid 19 pandemic. The first half of the meeting was comprised of significant items of business such as the EMC Pledges on Climate Change and the role of European Methodism in the World Methodist Conference in 2022. Country reports took the form of videos from several member churches, sharing their experience of church life and mission throughout the pandemic, as well as a video featuring a conversation between Bishop Christian Alsted (Northern Europe), Rev Dr Heather Morris (Ireland) and Doug Swanney (Britain) about the leadership challenges of these days.
The second half of the meeting was dedicated to breakout discussion groups that considered the topic,
Reflections on the impact of Covid-19 on our engagement in God’s mission in Europe and what it means for our work together as a Council.
Despite missing the informal conversations that happen around the dinner table when we gather in person, our breakout discussions allowed participants to reflect meaningfully together on our engagement in God’s mission in Europe in these days. Churches have responded with incredible creativity and compassion. They are finding ways to continue to meet practical needs. They are engaging with people online who would not normally attend church but are also experiencing many challenges. There was a strong sense of having ‘shared experience’ that has transcended many of the barriers normally associated with culture and context.
Click here to read an article on our meeting published in the Methodist Recorder.
Sowing and harvesting in Hungarian Roma communities
For decades already, The United Methodist Church in Hungary has been striving to improve the living conditions and future prospects of disadvantaged and often marginalized people in Roma communities in the country. Read more here…
On March 19th the Methodist and Waldensian churches, (in collaboration with their social, educational and cultural organisations) declared their full commitment and solidarity with those effected by the Coronavirus (in the life of the country and in all its elements, with a particular attention towards the most vulnerable and marginal realities).
Given the extraordinary circumstances in which we find ourselves, the Tavola Valdese has made the decision to give 8 million euros from the fund of the “Otto per mille”, allocated annually to the Methodist and Waldensian Churches, to assist those effected by the COVID-19 (including those socially and financially effected). A special fund has thus even created for this purpose.
The Tavola Valdese will carefully evaluate the needs of those effected in 2 ways. The first is focused on immediate and urgent needs, especially in the health sector, on which many resources are generously made available by individuals, foundations and other charitable organizations and for which therefore, we must give special attention to the evolution of the situation (especially in those areas of the country that appear more fragile and less equipped to cope with the emergency). The second line concerns the long term needs which will last beyond the emergency. This element will consider the unforeseen aspects, including: exclusion and impoverishment in which those most exposed to the consequences of the prolonged blockade of productive activities and social support networks will plummet and the choices of redistribution of human and financial resources imposed in recent months by the measures taken to stop the contagion.
“si muoveranno lungo due direttrici: la prima è concentrata sui bisogni immediati e urgenti, soprattutto di tipo sanitario, su cui stanno già confluendo molte risorse generosamente messe a disposizione da singoli, fondazioni e altre organizzazioni benefiche e rispetto ai quali si vuole, quindi, mantenere l’attenzione sull’evoluzione della situazione, soprattutto in quelle zone del Paese che appaiono più fragili e meno attrezzate a fare fronte all’emergenza. La seconda direttrice riguarda le necessità della ripresa oltre l’emergenza, considerando ciò che ancora non si vede: le voragini di disagio, esclusione e impoverimento nelle quali precipiteranno le categorie sociali più esposte alle conseguenze del blocco prolungato di attività produttive e reti di sostegno sociale e delle scelte di redistribuzione di risorse umane e finanziarie imposte in questi mesi dalle misure adottate per frenare il contagio”.
One day Patrik Hipp looked out of the window and saw a mother with children in the playground. “I thought: we need such families to come to our congregation. And when I asked myself why we didn’t have such families, it became clear to me that someone should talk to this woman about God’s love.” Read more here…
Run the Race in Romania
The UMC in Romania is not only a young Church – it also offers a variety of attractive activities for young people. This summer the fourth “Run the Race Camp” took place with more than 60 young people connected to the UMC in Romania attending for a time of adventure, fun and growth. Read more here…
The EMC asks its member churches to dedicate a special Sunday each year for migrants and refugees on a Sunday close to the 20th June, which is World Refugee Day. A different country provides the liturgy each year and for 2019 this has been produced by the Italian members of EMC. You can access it here and adapt it to suit your situation.
UMC Eurasia Youth Festival 2019 – “When God Calls”
Young people from various countries in the Baltics, Eurasia and Central Asia have been gathering together since 2005 to consider together God’s calling for their lives, to be inspired for ministry and to be equipped with practical ideas and knowledge. “When God Calls” took place in Saint- Petersburg in January 2019. Read more…