STATEMENT OF CHURCH UNITY FROM UNITED METHODISTS IN AFRICA

 

May the grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you our fellow United Methodists around the world. We pray that you had a joyful Christmas celebration and extend to you a hopeful new year’s greeting. We are members of the United Methodist Church from conferences across Africa. We are clergy and laity, including our youth, serving our denomination in different capacities: delegates from the past as well as the upcoming 2021 General Conference, and leaders in our conferences, districts, and congregations. We join together seeking a successful future for our beloved church.

 

This statement emanates out of the passionate and deep love we have for our beloved United Methodist Church. We are very concerned about the latest developments in our denomination which range from the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, racism/tribalism, and the uncertainties of the 2021 General Conference. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is clear in instructing us to be “light” and “salt” to the world and commit to love our neighbors(Matthew 5:14-16, 22:37-39). Rooted in this scriptural mandate, we are sharing this statement of unity to fellow United Methodists in our global connection.

 

1.      We mourn the sudden death of Bishop John K. Yambasu. His tragic death took place on August 16th, 2020 in a ghastly road accident while on his way to attend to his official duties. We send our condolences to the wife, children, and members of the Sierra Leone Annual Conference, West Africa College of Bishops, Africa College of Bishops, the Council of Bishops and the entire United Methodist Church. His death was a great loss to every one of us. Bishop Yambasu was deeply committed to the unity of the United Methodist Church in Africa and the rest of the world beyond the 2021 General Conference. Therefore, we vow to take up the legacy of Bishop Yambasu. We will make every effort to ensure that his vision of a thriving United Methodist Church in Africa is upheld, despite the uncertainties facing our denomination in 2021.      

 

2.      We applaud the tremendous efforts made by United Methodists all over the world in the fight against the Covid-19 virus. We mourn the millions who have died and pray for those who continue to suffer during this pandemic, both in body and spirit, alongside their loved ones and families. We feel and see their suffering, including many whose economic resources have been impacted by this pandemic. We have also seen clearly how this pandemic has united us as a denomination across our different theological divisions in the fight against Covid-19. We call on all United Methodists to walk toward the path of love, justice and compassion as we head to the 2021 General Conference. Our mission to a suffering world unites us.

 

3.      We equally applaud United Methodists all over the world for standing up against racism and white supremacy. We lament the sin of racism and white supremacy, and its vicious impact in the United States of America seen in the callous murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others including those not report by the press. We understand the evils of racism because we experience it through ethnic tribalism and xenophobia in Africa. We, therefore, call on all United Methodists wherever they are to continue fighting systemic racism, xenophobia, and ethnic tribalism in whatever forms they present themselves. We reject white supremacy as it discriminates against people based on their skin color, nationality, and the languages they speak. These evils are incompatible with Christian teaching and should be chargeable offenses in the United Methodist Church.

 

4.      We celebrate the fast growth of the United Methodist Church in Africa and its youth.70% of this growth is among our youth and young adults. While we celebrate, we are also worried about the future of our church in Africa and the rest of the world as we head toward the 2021 General Conference. Talks of separation harm this growth and harm our mission. Our young people should be allowed to decide their future in the United Methodist Church. We need to hear their voices. This is an urgent plea to our African leaders, and to our global connection.

 

5.      We celebrate unity in mission and reject dissolution or separation of the United Methodist Church in Africa. We are aware that after the tumultuous 2019 General Conference, various groups and individuals in the United States have put forward plans that call for the dissolution of the United Methodist Church reflected in their petitions to the next General Conference. We do not see any evidence of prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit in any dissolution plans that have been proposed. Our central conferences have not been part of any conversations related to these proposals. Therefore, we reject any plan that calls for the dissolution or dismemberment of the United Methodist Church. We call on African United Methodists to reject any dissolution of, or separation within, our denomination in Africa, and to affirm that beyond the next General Conference – under the power of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit – we will continue to be the United Methodist Church in Africa represented by the Cross and Flame.

 

6.      We stand with the College of Bishops of Africa and that of the Philippines Central Conference in rejecting the dissolution of the United Methodist Church. These bishops issued separate statements published on August 31, 2019, September 9th, 2019 and October 30, 2020in which they declared firm opposition against dissolution and reaffirmed their commitment to the unity of our global church.

 

7.      We support restructure proposals, such as the Christmas Covenant, that is rooted in equitable connectional relations and respect for contextual mission policies and practices. We support calls for a new polity in which regional bodies or conferences in Africa, Philippines and Asia, Europe, and the United States, have equitable contextual legislative authority, allowing adaptations of their respective Books of Discipline for effective mission and practice in their regional contexts, while maintaining the organic integrity and unity of our global United Methodist connection. This new polity recognizes and honors the particular gifts and graces, theological and doctrinal heritage, needs and challenges, of each region. It also upholds in prayer and mission our global solidarity committed to justice, reconciliation, and compassion.

 

As we prepare for the next General Conference, we call on all United Methodists to spend substantial time in prayers for the direction of the Holy Spirit. We pray for God’s blessings upon the United Methodist Church in Africa and the rest of the world.

 

Signed:

1.      Rev. Ande Emmanuel – Nigeria

2.      Rev. Lloyd Nyarota - Zimbabwe

3.      Rev. Dr, Eunice Iliya - Nigeria

4.      Rev. Betty Kazadi – DRC

5.      Mr. Amos Davidson - Nigeria

6.      Mr. Jefferson Knight - Liberia

7.      Priscilla Muzerengwa – Zimbabwe

8.      Rev. Naftal Oliveira MasselaNaftal – Mozambique

9.      Pastor Ahmed Ayuba Ahmed – Nigeria

10.  Mr. Albert Otshudi Longe – DRC

 

 

Comments

  1. I don't think you can have it both ways. You are fine with taking mostly U.S. American dollars for your ministry, as long as the majority of Americans continue to be exclusionary of LGBTQ persons as you want us to interpret scripture like you. But when we cannot agree to interpret scripture like you and want to divide in order for us to embrace all people with the good news of God's unconditional love, you cry out for us to keep united. Which is it going to be my sisters and brothers?

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    1. Let's be inclusive...but let's not? My understanding is that there is an effort to exclude the African churches, and churches elsewhere, in order to get the LGBTQ agenda approved. It was voted on at the last GC, but we going to revisit it yt again at the next GC, only this time we'll exclude the representatives that don't interpret scripture the way "we" want them to.

      Don't get me wrong, I think it is imperative to find a positive way forward, but what I see on the horizon is NOT a united church at all. And I regret that you want to come off as inclusive, yet your leading comment is really insensitive. Are you embracing others with love and grace, or striking out from behind the mask of anonymity?

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    2. It is a gift from God for those of us in the global North to help build up the church in the global South through the biblical virtue of generosity. We need not be in the same regional conference to do so. We are all United Methodists, regardless of which jurisdictional conference we belong to. We walk alongside each other.

      The Christmas Covenant would allow churches in each annual conference to make contextual decisions about how to move forward in ministry. It does not exclude them from making these decisions for themselves. It would prevent United Methodists from prescribing ministry practices to United Methodists in other areas of the globe. We may trust United Methodists in various parts of the world to discern God's guidance for them.

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  2. I don't think we should ever divide as we agree as people of faith, not on everything, but I don't agree with even my family on all matters. We can agree on unity in matters of faith, you are Methodists as are we, you are Christians as are we. But in matters of structure and organization we may need to go our separate ways. I feel we would and should continue to contribute to your support, you could and should continue to pray for us and all others and favor us with your dedication to Jesus and God's kingdom. We can live together in that manner and we will not be separated from one another. The problem that brought this to a head is that many of us, perhaps most of us, do not believe that God's love and grace extends to all except gays and lesbians, we believe that his love and grace extends to all, period. We believe this is the teaching of Jesus and the apostles, as well it is the teaching of our forebear, John Wesley. I do not want to withdraw my fellowship from you because you disagree with that, and I would hope you would not withdraw your fellowship from me for my beliefs. Clearly, this is where I stand.

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  3. While a church split would be counterproductive, why is it that a small minority are leading a charge to the very thing that hurts the Methodist church the most? What does the Bible say about sexual sin? Did Jesus say In John 8, 3-11 that the woman was free to interpret his statement as she saw fit? What are we saying to those who chose a lifestyle that is inconsistent with Biblical writing and teaching?
    We are NOT free to interpret the Bible the way that fits our life, we are to make our Life fit for God. It is not a good thing to deceive people or lead them to believe behaviour is acceptable, when we know full well it is not.
    Those who choose a path different from the Traditional Methodist Church should feel free to leave the Traditional and start churches of their own, not try to make the existing church fit their agenda, nor try to get "free" churches via a split.
    Those who don't like the Methodist church as it is should leave as soon as possible, and stop trying to gain acceptance through activism and a "woke" - but misguided - agenda.
    Those who feel so strongly about their LGBTQ issues should sacrifice, dedicate themselves and raise the money to buy their own facilities and start their own churches. That way, they have services the way they like, and I do not have to participate in them nor worry about their subverting Traditional services with their way of life.

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    Replies
    1. This is very divisive. You seem to suggest the LGBT is not worthy of the grace of God. That's a hurtful message and not the teachings of the scriptures. It is not the example of Jesus. Why do you invite me to leave because I feel the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all humankind?

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    2. It is only as divisive as *your* desires make it.
      "On the night of His betrayal Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me” (John 14:23-24). Jesus said if we love Him we would obey Him. Jesus teaches us to express our love towards God by desiring to obey His commandments and instructions."
      If Methodists encourage the LGBTQ community with acceptance, I believe that encourages that same community to continue in a vein that is inconsistent with Christian teaching, which is what the Discipline has been saying for years. Do you think God has changed his mind and decided that sexual sin is no problem, that anything goes?
      I think you need to research in depth what the grace of God really requires; your perception seems to be more like whistling in the dark.
      When it is all said and done, when you are no longer of this earth - will you want to have been wrong?

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. My reply to "Mr. Anderson" seems to have been purposely removed. Censorship is most undesirable. I shall remove myself from this discussion.

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