First Friday Letter
The World Methodist Council
Greetings from the General Secretary
I write this greeting from Seoul where I was privileged and blessed to share in the 4th Roundtable meeting for Peace on the Korean Peninsula with representatives of the World Methodist Council, the United Methodist Church and the Korean Methodist Church. We were inspired by the stories of hope and courage from churches and civil society organizations working for peace. Find the Statement here.
I had an incredibly busy past month with a trip to Keno, Nigeria to lay to rest one of the legendary figures of the World Methodist Council, the Prelate Emeritus, Sunday Mbang at a memorable service attended by former heads of state, governors and hundreds of church members. Following my visit to Nigeria, I joined the Steering Committee for an onsite visit to the Conference venue in Gothenburg, where we also held a meeting with the Conference Host Committee, Council Nomination Committee, and put together the final touches of the 22nd World Methodist Conference Program.
There is great excitement as we countdown to this Conference that was postponed twice due to the COVID-19 travel ban. The Methodist family from more than 130 nations will gather in Gothenburg, Sweden from 13-18 August 2024. Don’t miss this event! Registration is now open, click here to register.
The Steering Committee received reports on the work of the Standing Committees and the Affiliate organizations. We expressed condolences to those who lost loved ones in the wildfires in Maui, Hawaii and we appeal to the Methodist family to support the work of UMCOR and other agencies as they assist people to rebuild their homes. We heard and expressed our outrage at the attacks on churches in Punjab province, Pakistan. We lamented and prayed for the many places of violence and conflict in the world and pledged to make a difference wherever we find ourselves.
We look forward to the upcoming World Methodist Council events in preparation for our Conference next year: A Consultation on Migration that will meet in Manila, Philippines this 4-7 September.
Please pray for the Council and the Search Committee as the process to appoint new Officers and a General Secretary for the new quinquennium proceeds.
As Hurricane Idalia is pummeling Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas and makes its way up the eastern US coast. Join us in prayer for all those who may be affected.
Yours in Christian Love and Service, Ivan
World Methodist Council First Friday Letter page 1
Bishop Sunday N. Onuoha (Left to Right), General Secretary of the WMC Bishop Ivan Abrahams, Presiding Bishop of Ghana Bishop Paul Boafo and Archbishop Michael Kehinde Stephen attending the Prelate Emeritus, Sunday Mbang’s funeral
Register NOW for WMC Conference
The 22nd World Methodist Conference of the WMC will be held 13-18 August 2024 in Gothenburg Sweden. Be part of this historic event. This is an opportunity for all Wesleyan, Methodist and Uniting Churches to come together. The WMC is the only place for all of John Wesley’s family to join at one table in a common bond.
Worship will feature world renowned speakers. Choose your program from the many academic sessions, seminars, meetings, receptions and tours as you complete the registration form. The exhibit hall will feature a variety of displays from around the world or you can choose to have a booth and pitch your own ideas.
Register NOW to receive the best attendee rate and hotel room choices.
Join this worldwide celebration of cultures, music, and learn from people who will share their knowledge, allowing you new experiences.
World Methodist Council First Friday Letter page 2
Participants Except Youth YYA - Young Adults Age of 18 - 35 Early Bird Until January 31, 2024 $349 $99 Super Saver February 1June 15, 2024 $449 $115 Regular June 16, 2024Conference $499 $135
Photo 98504624 | Gothenburg Sweden © Sergey Dzyuba | Dreamstime.com
Tours offer deeper insight
Official Tours & Cruise of the 22nd World Methodist Conference
Want to make your 22nd World Methodist Conference experience even more amazing? Visit the many Wonders of Sweden, Norway, and the Baltics in one of our five pre-/post-tours and make the most of your Scandinavian adventure.
Secure your reservation today as space is limited and each departure will have no more than 45 persons!
Tours & Cruise
Escorted by Bill Haire, Travelink Managing Partner (pricing is subject to cabin availability)
These exclusive travel offerings are comparable to those provided for previous World Methodist Conferences (i.e. Seoul, Brighton, Rio de Janeiro), and benefit the World Methodist Council. Travelink has been engaged by the World Methodist Council to offer these tours and cruise.
Click the link below to view detailed itineraries and descriptions for all five unique tours and cruise.
Pre- & Post-Conference Tours & Cruise Details & Registration
Story and Photos Submitted by Travelink
World Methodist Council First Friday Letter page 3
Tour | Gothenburg – Copenhagen | 18 August – 26 August 2024
Tour | Stockholm – Gothenburg | 3 August – 12 August 2024
Norway Tour | Oslo – Gothenburg | 5 August – 12 August 2024
Sweden & Norway Tour | Gothenburg – Oslo | 18 August – 27 August 2024
Norway Tour | Gothenburg – Oslo | 19 August – 26 August 2024
World Methodist Council seeks General Secretary
The World Methodist Council is seeking a General Secretary to serve as the Chief Executive Officer for a five-year term commencing in August 2024.
The General Secretary and the Council President are the Principal Officers of the Council.
The General Secretary will promote the Vision and Mission of the World Methodist Council and maintain a focus for the Council in fulfilling its purposes as described in the Constitution; to encourage new initiatives and, with the Officers of the Council, to provide strong and effective leadership of the Methodist Council’s activities.
Applicants may be Lay or Ordained and will be a member in good standing with their respective Church, which is a member Church of the Council.
It is envisioned that the General Secretary will work from an office established in the Conference and/or Church where they currently reside.
To request a copy of the Job Description, please e-mail email@example.com
Applications Close on Friday, 1 December 2023
World Methodist Council First Friday Letter page 4
2024 Conference plans ramp up
Nordic Host and Steering Committee worship and review 2024 sites
Prayer and Action against Hunger
In the coming weeks Christians of all denominations will join hands in praying and acting for transformation towards life for all. September 1 to October 4, we are invited to join the World Council of Churches, the Laudato Si Movement and other ecumenical partners to engage in reflection, prayer and action in embracing climate and ecological justice and advocating for vulnerable communities disproportionately affected by climate injustices and biodiversity loss. There are two Online Prayers marking the beginning and the end of the Season of Creation and you will find rich material to be used in your worship services and study groups at https://www. oikoumene.org/news/online-global-ecumenical-prayer-marks-the-start-of-season-of-creation-2023 This year’s motto is A MIGHTY RIVER - LET JUSTICE AND PEACE FLOW. It refers to Amos 5:24:“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”
Soon after and related to the call to worship God by being mindful stewards of what God created, a broad coalition of Christian world communions and organizations engage in the WEEKEND OF PRAYER AND ACTION AGAINST HUNGER October 14-16,2023 under the theme: SHARING FOOD WITH THE HUNGRY with reference to Isaiah 58:6-12. The World Methodist Council represented by Geneva Secretary Rosemarie Wenner has been playing an active role in working on a liturgy for local congregations, study material on the 10 Commandments of Food, including a child friendly version, videos, and booklets. Through worship, study, and advocacy we actively engage towards a world without hunger in a time when more and more people are starving because of inequality, climate change and armed conflicts. General Secretary Ivan M. Abrahams extends an invitation to join the campaign. https://worldmethodistcouncil.org/2023/08/28/praying-and-acting-together/ Material including the liturgy can be downloaded in many languages at https://www.wvi.org/emergencies/hunger-crisis/ weekend-of-prayer
World Methodist Council First Friday Letter page 5
President JC Park and Vice President Gillian Kingston leading the Steering Committee Meeting in Gothenburg Sweden
Korean Roundtable Calls for Action
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” (Isa 52:7)
In alignment with the spirit of the Tozanso process and Glion consultation, Methodist churches worldwide have maintained a steadfast commitment to fostering peace and reunification on the Korean Peninsula. During the 21st World Methodist Conference on September 1, 2016, representatives from the KMC, UMC, and WMC convened to reaffirm their dedication and collaboratively address the ongoing conflict on the Korean Peninsula. The second session of the Roundtable coincided with the launch of GBGM’s Asia regional office in Seoul on March 25, 2017. This gathering reiterated the significance of peacebuilding on the Korean Peninsula and humanitarian cooperation, both integral facets of the church mission’s objectives. The third Roundtable was convened by the UMC-GBGM in Atlanta on November 9-11, 2018. Its primary focus was to enhance the Methodist church’s role as a mediator concerning the normalization of DPRK-USA relations and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. This responsibility was undertaken in conjunction with the church’s enduring advocacy for global denuclearization, as articulated in the Atlanta Statement.
Read more of this Statement at https://worldmethodistcouncil.org/2023/08/31/statement-on-the-fourthroundtable-for-peace-on-the-korean-peninsula/
General Secretary Abrahams urges colleges to work towards peace
World Methodist Council First Friday Letter page 6
Pictured Left: WMC President JC Park, UMC Council of Bishops President Thomas Bickerton, KMC Bishop Chul Lee
Metanoia to gather in South Africa
John Wesley once said that all he needed was 100 people who loved God and hated evil. He didn’t care if they were lay or clergy. If he had 100 people who loved God and hated evil, they would shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth.
World Methodist Evangelism is identifying, connecting, and equipping young leaders who love God and hate evil. These are young women and men who are engaged in their communities of faith, who desire to follow Jesus more deeply, and who are ready to discern what’s next. We are shaking the gates of hell as we empower these young Christ followers to deepen their faith, share it with integrity and grace, and impact their world on behalf of Jesus Christ.
Since 1980, through Metanoia, WME has gathered over 6500 young people from 60 different countries. In July, WME partnered with Central Methodist Church in Londrina, Brazil and Agência Malta Metodista, to offer a regional Metanoia gathering for emerging leaders (age 18-35) in South America. Speakers and other leaders from Brazil, Ghana, Panama, Romania, and the United States provided worship, study, training, and encouragement to these young people.
WME’s work to raise up young leaders does not end with a single event. We offer mentoring cohorts to solidify and expand the learning experiences of our Metanoia gatherings. Currently nine young leaders from our South American regional event will be join-
Young leaders are the catalyst to motivate their generation to impact the world on behalf of Jesus Christ. As they build relationships that extend beyond their own contexts, they expand their vision of God’s purpose for their lives.
Here is one testimony to the impact of the most recent Metanoia gathering:
Loeci: I had high expectations for Metanoia. I had planned for my whole family to come but it didn’t work out. My daughter became sick about a week before we were set to leave. Very sick. What’s worse, we were told she would need to spend 7-10 days in the hospital. My family is most important to me, so this meant I might miss Metanoia. Since I was at the hospital for so long, I took the opportunity to share the gospel with other mothers who were also there with their kids.
Meanwhile, I was praying for a miracle, for quick healing for my daughter, so I could attend. I prayed, put it in Gods hands, packed my bags, and kept praying.
After several days of uncertainty, my daughter was finally released from the hospital just a few minutes before I needed to leave! I was still nervous about attending Metanoia, but my husband and daughter told me to go. They said it was important for the relationships and to discern what God had for us next. I had felt called to serve orphans and widows in another country, but the timing for me and my family was not right, so I asked God to give me my next step. After attending Metanoia, I now have clarity on what’s next: to serve that same hospital where my daughter was cared for!
The next World Methodist Evangelism Metanoia gathering will be March 11-17, 2024 in Cape Town, South Africa. In partnership with the Methodist Wesleyan family in Southern Africa, this will be a global event, bringing emerging young leaders together to shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth. The registration fee is $300 (US). Participants are responsible for travel expenses. Once on site all other costs are included in the registration fee. Need based scholarships will be available on a first come, first served basis. We encourage local churches, Annual Conferences, and Episcopal areas to send your young leaders and provide financial support. Registration information will be available on the WME website – worldmethodist.org.
World Methodist Council First Friday Letter page 7
Submitted by Executive Director of WME Kim Reisman
Zimbabwe Methodists revived and restored
From 4- 6 August 2023, the people called Methodists in Zimbabwe gathered at Kadoma Hotel and Conference Centre in Kadoma town for their 46th Annual Conference with the theme of “The Lord of Revival and Restoration” (Psalm 85 vs 6).
The Conference was convened by Presiding Bishop Revd. George. T Mawire, The Connexional Lay President Mr. Gear Hanyane, and the General Secretary Revd. Dr. Martin Mujinga. Conference delegates were drawn from the Conference’s eight Synods. Delegates also came from the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe (MCZ) and overseas fellowships in the UK, the USA, Ireland, Botswana, South Africa, and Australia/New Zealand.
A key and unique aspect of the MCZ Conference was the separate sessions which are done on the first day, with the laity having its session concurrently with the Ministerial Session. This speaks to the diversity of the different groupings within the church and it is a key element in the formulation of Conference resolutions and decisions. It is subsequently followed by the Representative Session where both the clergy and the laity come together to transact business.
During the 46th Session of the Conference, there was the presentation and adoption of the new legislation into policy, the new Strategic Plan for (2024-2018) based on the five pillars namely Improving Church Growth, Enhancing the church for social responsibility, Resourcing the church for sustainability, Strengthening the church for sustainability and lastly Strengthening the church for education, science and technology.
The Methodist church lived one of its inclusivity val ues where for the first time, all the worship services were interpreted using Sign language. The Confer ence Fellowship was lively and energetic with song and dance thanks to the pianist who was a young visually impaired Methodist member. This shows the level of talent in the church and surely proves that the Methodist Church is for All, regardless of status, ability, or disability.
The Conference welcomed the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA), Revd. Purity. N. Malinga who gave an inspired message on Ordination Sunday2. Seven ministers were ordained including two female clerics. The Methodist Church in Zimbabwe and the MCSA share a special relationship in that the church in Zimbabwe came from Britain via South Africa, a relationship that has been cemented over the years through countless interactions and our common cultures, history, and languages.
Another guest was the special Revd. Mary Sachikonye a Zimbabwean native who represented the British
Conference and brought greetings from the BMC in addition to a video by the Africa Partnership Coordinator Revd. Andrew Ashdown.
Conference was also inspired by prophetic greetings received from the World Communions General Secretary Revd. W Dimingu, who was present at the conference. His greetings spoke to the connectedness of the church in the ecumenical world and the links with fellow Methodists in the region.
The Conference appointed Revd. Likhai Molife as General Secretary from 2024, replacing Revd. Dr. Martin Mujinga who will be relocating to Ghana following his appointment as the General Secretary of the Africa Methodist Council. The Conference also appointed a female Synod Bishop Revd. Pauline Chauya, who will serve as Bishop in Bulawayo District starting in 2024. Revd. Chauya becomes the third female Bishop in the MCZ.
It was indeed a year of Revival and Restoration as the conference also prayed for the upcoming Harmonised Elections to be held on 23 August 2023. The theme for the year 2024 was adopted as, Ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5 vs 20), which calls on the Methodist community to be a source of reconciliation so that the world will learn from the Church. The Conference left all delegates from across the Connexion with renewed strength to serve and become builders of the kingdom of God.
World Methodist Council First Friday Letter page 8
Submitted by General Secretary Revd. Dr. Martin Mujinga
From left, Revd Dr. Martin Mujinga the Outgoing General Secretary, Revd. Likhai Molife the new General Secretary, Revd. George Mawire Presiding Bishop, Revd Purity Malinga, Presiding Bishop- Methodist Church of Southern Africa, and Revd Pauline Chauya the new Bishop of Bulawayo District.
22nd World Methodist Conference
Gothenburg, Sweden 13-19 August
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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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World Methodist Council First Friday Letter page 9