CELEBRATING THE 300TH ANNIVERSARY OF JOHN WESLEY’S BIRTH
POTSDAM (Germany) – European Methodists are planning a “festival of faith” from July 30 to Aug 3 here to celebrate the 300th anniversary of John Wesley’s birth.
The event honouring the founder of Methodism will be the first major initiative of the European Methodist Council (EMC), according to Mr Colin Ride, Europe Secretary for the British Methodist Church. Council membership includes British Methodist, Irish Methodist and United Methodist churches, as well as those in independent denominations in Italy, Portugal, Spain and elsewhere.
“With this festival, we want to praise God, to thank God for the blessing of the Methodist movement over the last 300 years, and to ask God for renewal and revival,” a festival brochure stated.
Mr Ride said that the festival was “an attempt to energise Methodists from all over Europe”, with churches from different countries organising and leading various parts of the programme.
The goal was to inspire church members to pursue mission and break some of the barriers caused by language differences or national boundaries.
German and English will be the festival’s official languages, reflecting the bulk of participants, but a third language may be added and translation equipment will be available.
Although participants from the United States and elsewhere are welcome, the festival is “specifically designed for people from Europe to meet,” he added.
The programme will reflect different cultural backgrounds and the different ways in which people learn, he explained. For example, while all Bible studies will reflect the same texts, they will be offered to participants in four ways, ranging from listening to a straightforward lecture to expressing themselves through art.
Festival activities will take place on the Herrmannswerder Peninsula in Potsdam, just outside Berlin. The opening ceremony on the evening of July 30 will be organised by the German United Methodist Church.
Daily activities from July 31 to Aug 2 will include Bible study, meetings of “Wesley groups” of eight to 10 people, workshops, liturgical evening prayer and other late-night events.
The July 31 evening programme, organised by the United Methodist Church of Northern Europe, will be a music-filled celebration of Wesley’s birth. That will be followed on Aug 1 by an international evening with ecumenical guests and people from politics and society, organised by United Methodists from southern and central Europe.
The Aug 2 evening programme will feature a British Methodist-sponsored “love feast” from the time of Wesley, with testimonies, songs and proclamations.
The festival will end with a Sunday morning worship service on Aug 3, planned by the United Methodists of Germany and Russia. – United Methodist News Service.