Methodist Church

United Methodist shares Nobel Prize

NASHVILLE (Tennessee) –The President of Liberia, Ms Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is one of three women who were awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for their work on women’s rights. The other two are Liberian peace activist Ms Leymah Gbowee and Ms Tawakkol Karman, a Muslim activist for women’s rights and peace and democracy in Yemen.

In 2006, Ms Johnson Sirleaf, a member of First United Methodist Church, Monrovia, Liberia, was the first woman to be elected a head of state in modern Africa. She stood for re-election in October.

She calls herself “Mama Ellen” and has made equality for women a top priority.

In her inauguration speech, she said: “Women have endured injustices and inhumane treatment; yet, it is the women who have laboured and advocated for peace.”

Mr Thomas Kemper, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, said: “I can think of no one who is more deserving than Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. is award is a powerful example of the impact of women as peace builders.

“Global Ministries has a strong relationship with Liberia on issues of peace … I join United Methodists around the world in congratulating Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman on this extraordinary honour.”

Norwegian Nobel Committee President orbjoern Jagland said in his announcement that the three prize winners share the 2011 award “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work”.

“We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society,” he added.

Ms Karman heads the human rights group Women Journalists Without Chains. Ms Gbowee organised a group of Christian and Muslim women to challenge Liberia’s warlords.

By Kathy L. Gilbert and Linda Bloom

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Nobel Peace Prize winner shines her light

Meanwhile, a story written by Linda Bloom in NEW YORK said that when Ms Gbowee was living a hard life as a refugee in Ghana, she used to comfort her small children at night with a beloved gospel song.

Ms Gbowee said she was reminded of that song on Oct 7 when, as a newly-named Nobel Peace Prize winner, she entered the chapel of the Interchurch Center in New York. As she sang, “ is little light of mine, I’m going to make it shine,” she was joined by a chorus of some 200 admirers.

“For the last, almost 16 years, I’ve done nothing great but to let my light shine,” she told the crowd about the accomplishments that now have drawn global attention.

“The journey has been tough, the road has been rough, but it’s been rewarding,” added the 39-year-old Liberian peace activist, who is a Lutheran and mother of six.

An announcement from the Nobel Committee said: “It is the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s hope that the prize to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman will help to bring an end to the suppression of women that still occurs in many countries, and to realise the great potential for democracy and peace that women can represent.” The Interchurch Center event originally was scheduled as a book party, hosted by the National Council of Churches, for Ms Gbowee’s memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changes a Nation at War.

Inter-faith influence

Sharing the prize with Ms Karman, a Muslim called “the mother of Yemen’s revolution”, seems fitting, since Ms Gbowee showed Christian and Muslim women how to break down the stereotypes they had of each other and find common goals to work for peace in their country.

After years of civil war, she called these women of faith in Liberia to peace-building in 2003. e women’s movement eventually led to the ouster of then-President Charles Taylor and the election of Ms Johnson Sirleaf, with whom Ms Gbowee said she has a “mother-daughter relationship”.

In New York, Ms Gbowee displayed a robust sense of humour but also had some strong words for her US audience, advising her listeners to tend to peace and justice issues in their own backyard.

She reminded the audience that the women who won the peace prize “didn’t set out to conquer the world – they set out to transform their societies first”.

She believes the path to non-violent change must be connected to belief in a higher power and firmly links her faith with her accomplishments.

“I could not have walked this walk all by myself,” she declared. – United Methodist News Service.

Kathy L. Gilbert is a multimedia reporter for the young adult content team at United Methodist Communications and Linda Bloom is a United Methodist News Service multimedia reporter based in New York.

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ECUMENISM

Origin of a red-letter Bible

WHILE MILLIONS READ their Bibles, few know why some Bible publishers print the words of Christ in red.

Words in red are neither more nor less important than the words in black. Jesus said to the seventy, “He who hears you hears Me …” (Luke 10:16). Jesus meant that every divinely inspired writer or speaker was equally important, since the message originated with God’s Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The idea of a red-letter Bible originated with Dr Louis Klopsch, the first Editor of the Christian Herald. Its November 1901 issue ran an advertisement offering a red-letter Bible to readers. Dr Klopsch based this on Luke 22:20: “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you,” spoken by Jesus as He instituted the Lord’s Supper.

Reasoning that blood was red, he asked himself, “Why not a red-letter Bible with the red words to be those of our Lord?” He asked Bible scholars in America and Europe to submit passages they regarded as spoken by Christ while on earth.

The first publishing of a red-letter Bible (copyright 1899 by Louse Klossch) numbered 6,000 copies. They sold quickly. Presses were soon running day and night to supply the demand.

The King of Sweden sent a congratulatory cablegram, but the message that thrilled Dr Klopsch the most came from President Theodore Roosevelt. He was even invited to dine with the chief executive at the White House.

Dr Klopsch died on March 28, 1910, and was buried at Mont Lawn near Tonawanda, New York, where he had established an orphanage.

At the time e New York Tribune said: “He will not be easily replaced. He lived and died by his own motto: ‘Do all the good you can for all the people you can.’ This, he truly did.” – KneEmail.

Mark N. Posey contributes to KneEmail, a Christian resource organisation.

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