FFL - March 2023

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First Friday Letter

The World Methodist Council

Greetings from the General Secretary

Dear friends,

March 2023

Warm Christian greetings from Colombo, Sri Lanka, where I had the honor and privilege to confer the 2022 World Methodist Council Peace Award on Reverend W.P. Ebenezer Joseph. This is the second time someone from South East Asia has been honored with the Peace Award (please see the story in this edition and on our website).

On Transfiguration Sunday, a small team of World Methodist Council representatives worshiped and preached at various churches in Colombo. While many people we met were optimistic about the future, others thought they were close to experiencing a dystopian nightmare.

I was fascinated by the preparation for Ash Wednesday and conscious that different contexts shape how we usher in the Lenten Season. Because of the harsh socio-economic situation, the memory of colonialism, and racial discrimination in Sub-Sarah Africa, greater emphasis has been placed on Lent, Good Friday, and Easter than on Advent. In Latin America and the Caribbean, Mardi-Gras, Carnival starts on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent. Carnival basically means “farewell to meat.” In many European countries, Shrove Tuesday is referred to as “pancake Tuesday” because, in the Lenten Season, people refrain from pancake ingredients like sugar, flour, and eggs.

However you celebrate Lent, it is my prayer that this time calls us all to more than austerity or sacrifice from creature comforts but will lead us to a deeper spirituality and a renewed commitment to work for justice and peace as we journey towards Golgotha, the empty tomb and the joy of Easter.

At a time when there is an obsession with eternal beauty, the tradition of ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday reminds us of our fragility and mortality; “Remember that you are dust, and to dust, you will return.”

We live in a world pregnant with hope and possibility. Let us read and listen with new ears and see with fresh eyes, looking forward to the Easter Resurrection.

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General Secretary Ivan Abrahams presents the certificate

UMCOR Response To Earthquakes In Turkey And Syria

Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. (Credit: International Blue Crescent)

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey at 4:17 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, the most powerful earthquake recorded since 1939. In the hours that followed, at least 78 aftershocks were reported, followed by a second earthquake of 7.5 magnitude.

The earthquake and aftershocks also impacted northwest Syria, where 4.1 million people depend on humanitarian assistance. Syrian communities, many of them women and children, are simultaneously facing an ongoing cholera outbreak and extreme winter weather, including heavy rain and snow.

Thousands have been killed in both countries, and deaths continue to rise as rescue crews seek survivors in collapsed buildings. The humanitarian response is struggling to ramp up to meet the need among the devastation and winter weather.

UMCOR’s longstanding humanitarian partner, International Blue Crescent (IBC), has multiple offices and project sites in Turkey. In IBC offices, people fill the halls as they seek shelter, warmth, and a hot meal. With the devastating damage to roads, transport and infrastructure, IBC has received hundreds of families in its Kilis Community Center for shelter, warm items, and hot meals since the first hours Monday morning. Kilis is serving as a major hub for coordination and relief efforts, including for cross-border response into Syria.

UMCOR has released initial solidarity grants to IBC and Forum for Development Culture and Dialogue (working in Syria) to help provide tents, heaters, blankets, warm clothes, ready to eat meals and first aid kits to those who have been displaced. UMCOR staff members are also in touch with other partners in the region. Additional updates will be provided as more information becomes available.

Please join UMCOR in prayer for the many people affected by these devastating earthquakes, including the rescue crews seeking survivors and those caring for the injured and displaced.

Support relief and recovery efforts for this and other international disasters by donating to Advance # 982450 here.

Susan Clark is the chief communications officer for Global Ministries and UMCOR.

Read the story and watch the video here

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A little girl is rescued in Gaziantep, Turkey after a series of earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria on IBC staff serve meals to earthquake victims at Kilis Community Center. Photo: Courtesy of International Blue Crescent

Rev. Ebenezer Joseph receives 2022 Peace Award Presentation

‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.’

The Assembly Hall of Wesley College, Colombo, was filled to capacity on Saturday, February 18th, as friends, colleagues and representatives of churches and faith communities gathered to honour the Rev. Ebenezer Joseph, recipient of the World Methodist Peace Award 2022.

The event was suffused with music from the bands and choirs of Wesley College and Methodist College – the presence of so many young people from these Methodist schools was a token of hope and promise in a land where signs of peace and reconciliation are emerging after years of war and civil unrest compounded by political corruption and economic difficulty.

During a ceremony framed by worship, tributes were paid to ‘Ebey’ for his courage, creativity and consistency in addressing issues of peace and justice from his youth. Speakers included Rohan Perera who had been a student at Wesley College with Ebey, and Bala Gnanapragasam, former Vice President of the British Methodist Conference. Affirmed by words from the Rev. Dr. JC Park, President of the World Methodist Council, and with the Award medallion placed round his neck by WMC General Secretary, Bishop Ivan Abrahams, Ebey spoke in moving terms of his parents who had passed on to him the values by which he lives and he paid tribute to his wife, Patmini, and to their children, Meshach and Hadsha.

Quoting St. Paul, he declared that God had chosen the foolish and weak to confound the powerful. Peace making is not an option, but is something which is at the core of Methodism, enabling us to walk hand-inhand with those from whom we differ.

Ebey wanted to thank many people, but would only single out a few: the Rev. Duleep Fernando, former President of the Church; his van-drivers who had always transported him safely from one place to another; the national security personnel, doing a difficult job in challenging circumstances.

He observed that 2023 is a year of commemoration for the people of Sri Lanka, being the 40th anniversary of the riots which had taken the lives of many; the 200th anniversary of the plantation community which had been the backbone of the economy, the 150th anniversary of a significant Methodist/Buddhist debate on faith. He noted that next year would see the 150 th anniversary of Wesley College, the school which had taught him to recognize and respect every human being.

Ebey recalled times when he had been in significant danger, saying that, on three such occasions, his life had been saved by those of other faiths: a Sinhala Buddhist, a Hindu priest and a Muslim beggar.

Reflecting that Sri Lanka has been the longest colonized nation in Asia, in turn by the Dutch, the Portuguese and the British, he asked ‘Who am I?’ – a person of a minority within several minorities, a Methodist Tamil of Indian descent. But, through peace, justice and reconciliation, Sri Lankans will find ‘an authentic identity which binds us together.’

Those present left inspired by ta modest, self-effacing servant of God, one whose courageous, consistent and creative ministry is richly deserving of celebration.

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Local culture and praise was an important element in the ceremony

Officers of the WMC processed in with the recipient to an overflowing assembly on Wesley College Campus

2023

Peace

Award Nominations are open now!

If you have been planning to nominate someone who exemplifies Courage, Creativity, and Consistency for the World Methodist Peace Award, you must act now. It has been awarded to people in many countries and on all continents. Some awardees have been world figures; others may be little known beyond their immediate communities. Their stories are recorded here: https://worldmethodistcouncil.org/recipients/

Applications submitted by 15 July will be considered for this year. Any application received after 15 July will be reviewed later for 2024. All supporting documents must be included at the time of submission.

The nominee should show courage in regard to physical danger or putting personal interest at risk. Creativity should include opening new initiatives and attracting others in working for the cause of peace. Consistency is judged by effort over a period of time and intensity, despite setbacks. Here is the link to read the full criteria: http://worldmethodistcouncil.org/whatwedo/world-methodist-peace-award/

The recipient receives a medallion, citation and US $1,000 which is symbolic of the larger recognition achieved in working for peace, justice and reconciliation. The recipient is included in the World Methodist Council Peace Award booklet and a featured article in WMC and Wesleyan/ Methodist publications.

Go to worldmethodistcouncil.org and click on the “What We Do” tab and then click on the “World Methodist Peace Award” tab and complete the online application. Please send all nomination forms to Bishop Ivan Abrahams at info@worldmethodistcouncil.org

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Family of receptor President JC Park sharing Words of Affirmation Presenting the Peace Award

Climate issues connect church, Indigenous communities

Before world economic leaders involved Indigenous peoples on the front lines to address climate change, Filipino United Methodists were working alongside the Aetas in Mawacat, a barangay — district — in Florida Blanca, Pampanga.

“Engaging with the Aeta community … gave us compelling experience and real-world perspective on indigenous resilience during disasters,” said Phine M. Cedillo, Manila Area disaster-management coordinator. “We learn from their stories, practices and experiences.”

Cedillo said the Aetas’ rich culture and traditional knowledge and practices enable them to adapt and manage changes around them. “I was amazed that these traditions and old practices kept them self-sufficient and steadfast,” she said, “despite the constant changes, not to mention the lack of social services.” However, without continued support for building capacity and awareness, Cedillo added, their resiliency is “threatened with multi-hazard vulnerabilities.” She encouraged more in-depth information to strengthen their competence while considering the preservation of their traditions and respecting their rights.

Community-based Contingency Planning was adopted by all episcopal areas of the Philippines Central Conference in 2018. The outreach has shown the role Indigenous practices can play in addressing climate issues.

The Jan. 16-20 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, involved more than 3,000 government and business leaders who acknowledged that Indigenous knowledge and lands are key elements in a global climate-change strategy. The executive summary of the forum’s report stated that respecting Indigenous peoples’ cultural knowledge, rights and responsibilities would boost the resilience and long-term impact of

landscape conservation and restoration projects.

The Rev. Willie Tolentino, the disaster risk reduction chair of the Pampanga Philippines Conference, noted the challenges of reaching the Aeta community. One must travel for an hour, crossing two rivers without bridges. “I believe that this tool, Community-based Contingency Planning, will help them prepare, prevent the risk and danger from different hazards, and (develop) a clear plan for their safety in times of tragedies,” Tolentino said. “Because of its geographical location (highlands),” he explained, “the community is prone to typhoons, landslides, earthquakes and even drought in the summer because they only rely on water coming from mountains. During the rainy season, the community is isolated.” Tolentino said that immersing with the community has provided more evidence of government neglect.

Cedillo said the conference identified the Aeta community as high risk and in need of priority. Another contingency-planning process with an Indigenous community in Barangay Dibut in Aurora followed.

“The culture of our Indigenous people,” said Manila Area Bishop Ruby-Nell M. Estrella, “reveals a holistic way of dealing with the challenges of life in their communities. Caring for and protecting their ancestral land is at the core of their being. We have much to learn from them.” She said the episcopal area will continue to work with Indigenous communities and share their ways of addressing climate change. “These inspiring stories must be told, so these practices will be replicated in other communities.” Davao Area Bishop Israel M. Painit agreed.

Read more of this story here

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Members of the Aetas community pose for a photo with a team from The United Methodist Church in the Philippines. The group participated in Community-based Contingency Planning at Mawacat UMC in Pampanga. Photo by Rev. Willie Tolentino.

50-Plus-Hour Revival Sweeps Asbury University: Students ‘Stayed All Night’

What began as a regular Wednesday chapel service at a Christian university in Kentucky has blossomed into a 50-plus-hour revival that was still ongoing Friday and drawing national interest.

The revival at Asbury University’s Hughes Auditorium in Wilmore, Ky., was being compared to past Asbury revivals, including one in 1970 that lasted 144 hours and led to canceled classes. In 2006, a four-day revival swept the campus.

Already, the 2023 revival has attracted people from neighboring states who drove to Wilmore to experience it. The university is non-denomination but “grounded in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition,” according to its website.

Alexandra Presta, the executive editor of the Asbury Collegian, wrote in a Thursday story that the revival has been filled with prayer, songs of worship, times of confession and testimony, and petitions for the nation and the world.

“I have embraced friends, cried with strangers and overall felt more connected to God than I have in a long while,” Presta wrote. “And I am only one person, one witness to healing and transformative action taking place on the carpets, against the walls, and between the wooden rows of seats.”

Presta said the revival is difficult to describe. “It’s still hard to verbalize,” she wrote. “I’ve had friends across

state lines text and call me, wanting an explanation for how and why God chose now to come in this way. I admitted to all of them a phrase I usually despise: ‘I don’t know.’”

Junior Abigail Glei told the Asbury Collegian that the revival has taught her a lesson about God’s sovereignty. “He is teaching me to believe that He is in control and that I don’t need to worry,” Glei said.

Daryl Blank, pastor of Springdale Nazarene Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, drove two hours to experience the revival. Blank said he had trouble finding a parking spot outside the chapel.

“Worshipers stayed all night. It was apparent that these young people were not caught up in revival, but in the revival-er. God had come! Unexpectedly!” Blank wrote on his Facebook page. “No one person was in charge. No one dared to get in the way of what God was doing. Reconciliation, forgiveness, and healing were in this place. ... An announcement was made that at least two other universities were bussing students to the revival and they were on the way.”

The revival, Presta wrote, will last as long as God wants it to last. “As long as the Spirit calls for it, His children will remain here, allowing God’s overwhelming and holy love to fill hearts and touch souls,” Presta wrote.

Photo credit: Unsplash/Shaun Frankland

Bossey Online Study Course “Together towards Unity: Being Church in a Fragmented World”

The Ecumenical Institute Bossey provides unique opportunities to study in international and interdenominational groups of students. Running from March 20 to June 11, 2023, an Online Course explores the biblical, theological, ethical, societal, interreligious, and missiological dimensions of ecumenism. It would be great to have many Methodists amongst the participants. Please register til March 7. Here is the link for more information: https://www.oikoumene.org/news/applications-open-for-bossey-online-course

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Apply for Youth and Young Adult Scholarship

Scholarship opportunities for the 22nd World Methodist Council Conference are open now. Register by clicking on the link below.

https://worldmethodistcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/WMC-Application-Form.pdf

1,000 US Dollars is available to young people 18-35 years old for Conference lodging at this 13-18 August 2024 event.

On The Move

Sweden ”On The Move” is an occasion that deepens faith, bonds together, creates energy for growth and discerns future contours of ministry, service and leadership among the world family of Methodist peoples, churches and conferences. Our main themes are migration, pilgrimage and illumination/guiding lights. The rich and exciting programme will revolve around these themes.

Moving Stories. Travelling and being received. Hospitality. Rising nationalism. The enrichment or degrading of host societies? Borders. And the role of Churches –and particularly WMC family churches and conferences.

The richness of journeying. Discovery. Time for reflection. transformation of self through walking with others – and alone. Identifying ‘waymarks’ that guide us and mark our progress, and the spiritual traditions and practices that help us on our way, all shared with each other.

In a region of the world associated with the Northern Lights what illumination can we learn from each other for such a time as this, what ‘lights our way’ in an often gloomy cultural climate? How are we best ‘salt and light’? What apt and contextually transferable ways of being, mission, service, witness, presence, evangelism are among us?

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United Methodist women feed community

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, shutting down global economies, two United Methodist women started a soup kitchen in their home to feed disadvantaged children.

Nokwanda Keleku and Vuyelwa Thanda noticed a need in Philippi, a township community in Cape Town, South Africa.

“It all started after Vuyelwa and I witnessed kids fighting on the street over a vetkoek (a small, unsweetened cake of deep-fried dough),” said Keleku. “This gave birth to the idea of starting a soup kitchen.”

Low-income communities were particularly hard hit by strict lockdown rules as poor families faced income loss and food insecurities.

“We started witnessing kids and parents going doorto-door asking for mealie meal to prepare food for the day,” Thanda recalled. “We approached the church for financial support. Sadly, the church didn’t have funds available for such an initiative.”

Undeterred, the women started Masakhane Soup Kitchen in 2020. “Masakhane” means “Let’s build one another.” Thanda and Keleku used their own funds to buy ingredients. On the first day, 150 children were fed.

The Rev. Ntambozoxolo Nkomo, pastor-in-charge of The United Methodist Church’s Cape Town Circuit, said he visited often when the soup kitchen began.

“I used to go to Masakhane to pray with kids and read them the Bible before they received their meals,” said Nkomo. “This also strengthened the evangelism they were getting in the form of food.”

Christopher Mondleki, Cape Town Circuit lay leader, saw the potential of the food ministry.

“After witnessing great works being done by our church members, I knew this project was the answer for our community,” he said. “The church started supporting the project, and as we speak, Cape Town Circuit is part of this great initiative.

“A lot of families are being assisted, and with full and enough resources, we can do more.”

Seventh-grader Imikuthi Booi is grateful for the soup kitchen. “Since the beginning of Masakhane Soup Kitchen in 2020, I come here daily to enjoy different types of cooked meals that I don’t get at home.”

Read more of this story here

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Children from the Philippi neighborhood in Cape Town, South Africa, pose for pictures after receiving meals at Masakhane Soup Kitchen. Many families in the community were hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The food kitchen currently operates twice a week and serves about 200 kids and some parents. Photo by Alvin Makunike, UM News.

Giving Preference

Romans 12:10

Two words recur often in Scripture: Submission & Humility. However, in many cultures they are generally avoided. Humility has been replaced by bold assertion, caring little about others. Submission has been replaced with independence, to “just do it” (as Nike advertises). For many, submission and humility have become ideas of the past.

Paul’s words in Romans 12:10 help us get around this negative bias. Instead of telling us to submit and humble ourselves, he says “Be kindly affectionate to one another…, in honor giving preference to one another”. Now that sounds different! Suddenly, the words become less offensive to our biases.

You see, the reality is that the outcomes of our daily interactions rely primarily on our willingness to GIVE PREFERENCE to each other.

Families win when husband and wife GIVE PREFERENCE to each other. Friendships last when friends HONOR EACH OTHER ABOVE THEMSELVES. Our communities win when Christ followers GIVE PREFERENCE to their neighbors.

Giving preference to one another begins when we ask questions like “Whose well being am I concerned about?” or “Who wins if I get my way?” It’s very simple, and yet so difficult at times! This may even seem unnatural to you, but here’s why it matters:

1- We were made to submit to one another:

Genesis 1:26 says “Let us make humankind in our image, in our likeness”. Typically, when we read this we think of individual attributes such as loving, kind, honorable, etc. While it is perfectly fine to read it that way, it’s also incomplete. The other way to read this is that man and woman, both of them, together, would be like the triune God. It’s a subtle change, but it helps us understand that we were made to live together in mutual submission, giving preference to one another just as God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

2- Jesus himself did it:

Jesus modeled this kind of relationship in two ways. First, He gives preference to the Father saying “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent me” (John 6:38). Secondly, Jesus gives preference to us! Philippians 2:6-8 says this: [Christ]... “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!”

Finally

In order to truly GIVE PREFERENCE to those around us, we must first GIVE PREFERENCE to Jesus!

We cannot truly honor others above ourselves if we don’t first give our lives to Jesus. When Jesus fulfills our deepest needs, we find freedom to give preference to one another.

In a world of selfishness and self-promotion, people are hungry for a different way of being. Giving preference to Jesus and to one another changes the tone of our relationships, our conversations, and ultimately, our witness to the world.

PS: If this was encouraging to you, visit us www.worldmethodist.org to find more faith-sharing resources.

Paulo Lopes serves at World Methodist Evangelism. You can reach him at paulo@worldmethodist.org

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Thousands transformed through youth revival

God has been working in the lives of those in the Middle Ramu District in Papua New Guinea. Before 2022 ended, the district organized a five-day youth crusade at Gebau Valley, Kovon Local Level Government.

The Middle Ramu District is the largest in Papua New Guinea and comprises five circuits – Arame (Singapi), Gevrau (Ulamil), Kaironk, Simbai, and Tagul. The biggest number of believers are youth ages 12 to 30.

The district is also the most remote in the country. It is primarily rugged terrain with vast rainforests, grasslands, fast-flowing rivers, swamps, and floodplains. There are no road connections, and it is cut off by the Ramu River to the North and Jimi River to the South. Many pastors and leaders spend hours or even days walking to visit local churches or attend district gatherings.

But despite these challenges, there is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Middle Ramu District. Young people are flooding the local churches. They are hungry and thirsty for God’s Word. During the youth revival, over 5,000 young people from all five circuits gathered and attended.

The crusade theme was “Sanctify yourselves today, for tomorrow God will do wonders among you” from Joshua 3:5. Pastor John Laule shared the following sermons during the five-day revival:

• Cross Over and Take Over (Joshua 3:5)

• Transition and Transformation (Isaiah 6:1-8)

• The Call of Prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:1-10, 1819, 5:14)

• Holiness Highway (Luke 3:3-5, Isaiah 38:5 and 40:35)

• Unity and Later Rain (Deuteronomy 11:14, Psalm 104:14-15, 133:1-3, Isaiah 43:19)

• New Wine and Blessings of the New Wine (Joel 3:18)

• Do Not Leave Your Jerusalem until You Catch Fire (Acts 1:4-14, 2:1-15, Isaiah 4:3, 40:30-31)

Aside from the services, workshops and training focused on topics connected to youth and education, government laws and corruption issues, and environmental matters were offered.

In every worship service, as the Word was delivered, the Holy Spirit began to work, bringing conviction to every person in attendance. People would start walking to the altar even before the sermon was finished.

“Many stood outside the walls and participated in praise, worship, and hearing of the Word. [The number of attendees] increased to 5,000+ in the final days,” Laule said.

According to Laule, an average of 1,300 young people visited the altar after every message. A second altar was required outside the church because the inside was packed. More than 1,000 young people recommitted their lives, and more than 50 received Jesus Christ for the first time.

“It was the most amazing moment of fire,” Laule said. “As someone took the first step, everyone else fell in line, individual by individual, family by family, clan by clan, and tribe by tribe. God is truly doing marvelous things in Middle Ramu.”

--Church of the Nazarene Asia-Pacific

Read more of this story here

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Mission at International Conference in Rome

ROME (MEOR) - Several Methodist leaders spoke at an important international conference on the topic of Methodist approaches to synodality in January. The conference - Listening to the West - brought together leading scholars and church leaders from Methodist, Lutheran, Anglican, Reformed, and Old Catholic churches to present theological, canonical, pastoral, and historical perspectives on synodality. The conference – held at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome from 26-28 January 2023 – was organized by the Institute of Ecumenical Studies of the Angelicum under the patronage of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and the Vatican General Secretariat of the Synod. The Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome collaborated with the Institute of Ecumenical Studies in organizing the conference.

In October 2020, Pope Francis initiated a major international consultation process for the Catholic Church on synodality. The Catholic Church uses synodality to describe the process of the people of God journeying together in discernment of the Holy Spirit for mission, communion, and participation. The initiative emphasizes that synodality is more than an official assembly for decision-making. The international consultations include active participation and reflection by many Christian churches, including Methodists. The Rev. Matthew A. Laferty, director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome, was an official fraternal delegate to the opening of the international consultation process at the Vatican in 2020. Catholic theology of synodality resonates with Methodist theology of conferencing (or conferring), sanctification, and mission. The Listening to the West Conference is an outgrowth of the Vatican’s global discernment project.

At the Listening to the West Conference, the Rev. Prof. J. Kwabene Asamoah-Gyadu, a minister of the Methodist Church Ghana and president of Trinity Theologi-

cal Seminary in Legon, Ghana, gave a keynote address on “Synodal Experience: the Methodist Approaches.” Utilizing Methodist hymnody, Prof. Assamoah-Gyadu spoke about Methodist spirituality, discipleship, and sacramentality as marks of Methodist approaches to synodality.

Additional lectures on Methodist synodality were given by:

• Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, Geneva Secretary of the World Methodist Council and bishop emeritus of The United Methodist Church in Germany, on pastoral perspectives,

• Rev. Dr. Kenneth Howcroft from the Methodist Church in Britain on canonical/church order perspectives, and

• Rev. Prof. Daniel Pratt Morris-Chapman, minister of Ponte Sant’Angelo Methodist Church in Rome and visiting professor of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, on historical developments.

The Rev. Deacon Alessandra Trotta, moderator of the Waldensian Evangelical Church (Union of Methodist and Waldensian Churches), also gave lecture on pastoral perspectives during the Reformed segment from the viewpoint of United/Union churches. Deacon Trotta is Methodist and serves as the head of the Italian Methodist-Reformed union church.

The Rev. Matthew A. Laferty, director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome, moderated the keynote lecture and organized the panel discussion.

Learn more about the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome at www.meorome.org.

Story was submitted by Rev. Matthew Laferty

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Methodist presenters at the Listening to the West international conference.

Please send press releases, articles and resources! Submissions should be a page or less (450-500 words), edited and ready to publish. Contact us by Monday, 27 March at communications@worldmethodistcouncil.org if you would like your story to be included in the February edition of the First Friday Letter.

On the Web

This and past First Friday Letters can be found online at FirstFridayLetter.worldmethodistcouncil.org.

The World Methodist Council’s website may be found at worldmethodistcouncil.org

The World Methodist Council’s Conference website is at worldmethodistconference.org

To subscribe to this newsletter, please email communications@worldmethodistcouncil.org.

About the First Friday Letter

The First Friday Newsletter is a monthly publication of the World Methodist Council.

Publisher: Bishop Ivan Abrahams, General Secretary

Communications: Michaela Bryson

All stories and photos, unless otherwise stated, are protected by their respective copyrights. Please do not copy without expressed written permission from the Council.

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Photo credits: Perkins School of Theology/ R. Hipps
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