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Partner Methodist churches issue message worldwide

LLANDUDNO (Wales) — Representatives of 61 Methodist, United and Uniting Churches who took part in the Tercentenary Celebrations of John Wesley’s birth in Britain in June have issued a message to its churches around the world.

They were in Britain, at the invitation of the British Methodist Church, to take part in the celebrations and to consult together as partner churches on the theme of “Challenges and Choices”.

Representing The Methodist Church in Singapore was Bishop Dr Robert Solomon.

The group affirm in the message that “Methodism is committed to apostolic faith, evangelism, discipline, preaching of the Word, class meetings, personal and social holiness — features that ought to continue to be evident in our work and witness as they are relevant to this and every age”.

The leaders affirm their commitment to the reign of God and the proclamation of good news for all. They feel challenged to continue to condemn the world economic system that has produced massive unemployment, exploitation of women and children, forced migration, inadequate health care, impoverishment, corruption, greed and violence. “To this end it is our responsibility to co-operate with organisations, agencies and groups that share similar aims.”

The message adds: “We have been challenged afresh by the prophetic words of Scripture and made increasingly aware of the grace of God that is at work in our lives. We are called upon to engage in mission that is rooted in the justice of God’s reign. The Gospel so proclaimed brings salvation in Christ, promotes healing and solidarity with those who are disadvantaged, with the spiritually and materially poor and with the marginalised. We will continue to rely upon the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth and who enables us to proclaim the Gospel with conviction and power.

“We proclaim the sanctity of life — a gift from God. We deplore the wanton killing of human beings whether in war or as they go about their everyday activities. We consider it criminal that children are lured onto the field of battle and so grow up with hate. Furthermore we condemn the abuse of women and children for prostitution.

“We believe that it is important to keep before our people the seriousness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic that is tearing apart communities across the world. To this end, we consider it right and necessary to talk intentionally about sexual relationships and behaviour with our congregations, so that human sexuality is recognised as a gift from God to be used responsibly. We challenge each of our churches to work out appropriate responses in their particular situations.”

The leaders close their message by “agreeing to strengthen our partnership links and to facilitate the sharing of theological insights, of information, of personnel and of material resources that will continue to be an expression of our participation in God’s mission. We invite all our churches to join together in this commitment as partners in our common mission.”