Bishops offer scholarships for 2019 UMEIT-USA and NWCU events

WASHINGTON – The Council of Bishops is offering partial scholarships for young adults (age 21-35) to attend the 2019 United Methodist Ecumenical and Interreligious Training (UMEIT:USA) and the National Workshop on Christian Unity (NWCU) next spring.

The COB is encouraging all ecumenical representatives in all US annual conferences to participate, as it is an excellent time of ecumenical worship, networking and formation.  This year the United Methodist network (UMEIT) will be joining the Episcopal network (EDEIO) for an ecumenical training on the Monday of the NWCU.  As we work toward full communion between our two denominations, this will an opportunity to get to know our Episcopalian colleagues and be formed ecumenically with them.

UMEIT is the annual training in the United States for United Methodists engaged in ecumenical and inter-religious ministry through the church. The NWCU is an opportunity for Christians who care about ecumenical and inter-religious ministry to learn and network.

The NWCU and UMEIT occur parallel to each other once a year in a different area of the United States. The 2018 sessions will be from April 1-4, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Council of Bishops will offer up to six scholarships at $300 each to assist seminary students and other young adults (aged 21-35) who will be attending UMEIT and NWCU for the first time.

To receive a scholarship application, email Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst, Ecumenical Staff Officer, The Council of Bishops, at jhawxhurst@umc-cob.org or click here to download the UMEIT Scholarship application.

The scholarship application is due to jhawxhurst@umc-cob.org no later than February 15, 2019.

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Media Contact: Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga
Director of Communications – Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church
mmulenga@umc-cob.org
202-748-5172

Bishops authorize preparation of legislation on full communion with Episcopal Church

ST. SIMON’S ISLAND, Georgia – The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church has authorized the preparation of legislation to deal with the full communion proposal between The United Methodist Church and The Episcopal Church.

The bishops took the initial action on the proposal, called A Gift to the World: Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness, after receiving the proposal during the recently ended Council of Bishops November meeting held at Epworth By the Sea Methodist Center.

The legislation would be for the 2020 General Conference of The United Methodist Church.  The bishops will review the legislative proposal at its May 2019 meeting and make a final decision regarding the submission of this proposal to the General Conference.

It is the responsibility of the Council of Bishops to act as the “primary liaison for The United Methodist Church” in its “formal relations with other churches” (2016 BOD, ¶431.1) and to oversee the bi-lateral dialogues of the denomination.  However, a formal full communion relationship can only be established by the action of the General Conference.

A “full communion” relationship is one in which two or more churches publicly and visibly recognize one another as members of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.  In such agreements the parties recognize each other’s sacraments, offices of ministry, and Christian mission as fully valid and authentic, while also maintaining the autonomy and distinctive gifts of each church.  “A formal ‘full communion’ relationship,” states the Book of Discipline, “commits the churches to working together as partners in mission toward fuller visible unity” (¶431.1c).

The Episcopal Church and The United Methodist Church each have separate full communion agreements with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Moravian Church in America.  An agreement between The UMC and The Episcopal Church would complete this circle, giving the four communions overlapping relationships of full communion.

Additionally, The United Methodist Church is in full communion with the Uniting Church in Sweden and the following member churches of the Pan-Methodist Commission: The African Methodist Episcopal Church, The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, The African Union Methodist Protestant Church, The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, and The Union American Methodist Episcopal Church.

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Media Contact: Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga
Director of Communications – Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church
mmulenga@umc-cob.org
202-748-5172

United Methodists to join thousands of others at Parliament of World’s Religions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Scores of United Methodists will join about 10,000 Christians and other religious leaders at the next gathering of the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto, Canada November 1-7, 2018.

The purpose of the Parliament is to promote interreligious harmony, as opposed to seeking unity.  This kind of approach enables members of diverse religions to have respectful and cooperative relationships with each other, while maintaining the unique and precious character of each individual religion.

The theme for the gathering is “The Promise of Inclusion, the Power of Love: Pursuing Global Understanding, Reconciliation and Change.”  Special tracks of study and dialogue around diverse topics will be offered, including: The dignity of women, countering war, climate action, indigenous people, next generations and global justice.

The Council of Bishops has offered partial scholarships for persons attending the Parliament for the first time.  The persons receiving those scholarships are: Rev. Knut Refsdal from Norway, Ms. Chloe Panaguiton from the Philippines, Mr. Paul Gomes from the United States, Rev. Amy Scroggins from the United States, and Rev. Derrick Scott, III from the United States.

In addition to these persons, many United Methodists from around the world will also be participating.  For example, Dr. Soren Hessler will be presenting a workshop on a book he just edited entitled Words to Live By: Sacred Sources for Interreligious Engagement.  Ms. Tura Foster Gillespie will be presenting a workshop on research she did on interreligious books and resources for children.  Additionally, Rev. Neil Gaiser will be moderating a panel discussion on interfaith contemplative practices, and Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst will be moderating a panel discussion on religion as an Injustice healer.

A group of twenty United Methodists have organized to meet twice during the event for fellowship and conversation.  If you are attending the Parliament and would like to be a part of a United Methodist gathering, please let Rev. Hawxhurst know by contacting her at jhawxhurst@umc-cob.org.

About the Parliament: The first meeting of the Parliament of the World’s Religions was held in Chicago in 1893 and is widely recognized as the birth of formal interreligious dialogue worldwide.  The Parliament was renewed one hundred years later, in 1993, and was then established as an on-going gathering.  Currently, world religious leaders gather every few years in a different location around the world with the stated goal of cultivating “harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and foster[ing] their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world.” 

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Media Contact: Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga
Director of Communications – Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church

mmulenga@umc-cob.org

UMC Bishops call for prayers in aftermath of 232nd mass shooting in US in 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Council of Bishops President Bishop Ken Carter, who is also the resident bishop of the Florida Area, has issued the following statement in the aftermath of the mass shooting today in Jacksonville, Florida, USA:

“We are saddened again to learn of another mass shooting in Florida. We are praying for the people of the city of Jacksonville. We are grateful for the leadership of District Superintendent Jay Therrell and our churches across this community. They are already strong and vital influences for Christ in this area, and in the coming days they will become important communities of healing and intercession.

“As this is our third public mass shooting in as many years in Florida, and the 232nd mass shooting in the United States in 2018, we continue to unite our prayers with a call to our government officials at every level for a public response to the gun violence in our culture.”

Ken Carter
Bishop, Florida Conference and President, Council of Bishops, The United Methodist Church

United Methodist Bishops call for prayers of peace in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Area Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa meets with then Commander of the Zimbabwean Army Gen. Constantino Chiwenga in 2016. Chiwenga is now one of the vice presidents in Zimbabwean government. Photo curtesy of UMC Zimbabwe Area.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The bishops of The United Methodist Church are calling for prayers of peace for Zimbabwe, which is witnessing violence in the aftermath of presidential and parliamentary elections. Here is the statement from the Council of Bishops.

The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is joining our colleague, Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa, the resident bishop of Zimbabwe, in a call for prayers for peace in that country. We join with international observers in their commendation of the great majority of people of Zimbabwe in their maturity amidst this historic election. We appeal also for calmness in the midst of great anxiety, and we condemn all forms of violence as the country awaits the full results of the election. We grieve the deaths of those who have participated in this democratic process. We extend our sympathy, acknowledge their pain and stand with all peace-loving Zimbabweans.

The United Methodist Church rejoices in the faithfulness of the people of Zimbabwe, where the UMC has two annual conferences, hundreds of churches, mission centers, hospitals, clinics and schools. We especially hold in our prayers the students, staff and leadership of Africa University, one of our crown jewels of Methodist education in Africa. As brothers and sisters in Christ who share in the Cross and the Flame, we call upon the name of Jesus Christ, who is our peace (Ephesians 2), and we search for the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5) in these events.

We call upon all United Methodists and other people of faith throughout the world to join in prayers that peace will prevail in Zimbabwe.

Bishop Kenneth H. Carter
President, Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church

Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa
Resident Bishop, Zimbabwe Area
The United Methodist Church

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Media Contact: Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga
Director of Communications – Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church
mmulenga@umc-cob.org
202-748-5172