Listening to the stories of triumph and pain from our diverse communities, it was easy to see why the Methodist family is not uniform but rather unified by our common Methodist/Wesleyan heritage sharing a journey towards Christian perfection,” said Bishop Ivan Abrahams from the World Methodist Council, and moderator of the meeting.
Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, from the World Methodist Council, started with a prayer: “Wind of God, keep on blowing. Sail over the barriers that we build to divide ourselves from each other.”
The representatives of the global Methodist family renewed friendships and shared about the situation of the global communion. Every representative gave updates about their national church context and how they continue to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities are now adapting to a new normal, investing in hybrid solutions to reach out to more people.
Rev. James Bhagwan, general secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches, shared about the situation in Fiji and the Pacific. He underlined the continuing presence of COVID-19, how it deeply impacted the economy, and how Tonga and Samoa are about to reopen their borders after a long time. Tonga continues to rebuild after the volcanic eruption in January 2022.
“We see the resilience of our people and we see the role of the church to mobilize communities,” said Bhagwan. He also shared his concerns about the important upcoming elections in Fiji.
Bishop M. A. Daniel from the Methodist Church in India, shared his joy at seeing his church growing in India, as is the case in other Asian countries, saying, “Churches are going where institutions aren’t, despite opposition.”
An important part of the discussion was dedicated to planning, first for the WCC 11th Assembly, and then for the World Methodist Conference in Sweden in 2024.
During the closing prayer, Bhagwan said: “There are many things that can divide us but you bring us together; none of us is alone in your presence and the Methodist family, thanks for the burden and the joy we bring with us.”