The Leprosy Mission is an international Christian charity with 141 years of experience. Through The Leprosy Mission’s global family a population of 305 million people in around 30 leprosy-affected countries is served. Leprosy is a mildly infectious disease associated with poverty. It is easily cured.
Leprosy starts by damaging the small nerves on the skin’s surface resulting in a loss of sensation. The Leprosy Mission is asking for help and prayer for more skilled medical staff to continue its hospitals’ vital work. People affected by leprosy often live in extremely poor conditions and have very limited access to medical care. Without treatment they face preventable disability and a bleak future.
Prejudice and discrimination against people with this disease means that families are torn apart and suicide can sometimes feel like the only option. Medical staff working for The Leprosy Mission cure and treat thousands of people each year, providing unconditional love and skilled medical care at specialist leprosy hospitals. They work long hours because resources are so scarce. Following God’s calling, they work for a fraction of the salaries their clinical training enables them to earn.
According to the latest World Health Organisation statistics, there were 208,619 new cases of leprosy diagnosed globally in 2018 – around one every two minutes. Due to the reluctance of leprosy patients to seek treatment because of the stigma surrounding the disease, we regard these figures as understated.
More information can be found on their website here.
We, the leaders and representatives of ten British Church denominations and networks, speak together as the UK prepares to leave the European Union on Friday 31 January 2020.
Three and a half years after the UK voted to leave the European Union, the point of departure has now been reached. The process of arriving at this point has been bruising and divisive. For some this date will mark the realisation of a long-held ambition and a moment of celebration. For others, however, it will be an occasion of great loss, marking the moment when deeply held desires for the nations of the UK are placed beyond reach.
Church members in good conscience continue to hold a wide range of views about Brexit. As Church leaders and representatives, we are united in wishing to seek God’s guidance and a sense of common purpose as we move from this chapter of the Brexit process into the next.
As the UK leaves the EU there are important choices to be made about the values that we as a country live out. As Christians, we affirm our belief that all people are equally created in God’s image. Our country should be one that offers sanctuary to refugees and is intolerant of those who hate because of a person’s race or nationality. Both Leave and Remain campaigns agreed on this – we must now make it a reality.
The continuing challenges of the climate crisis, global inequality and conflict will require both resolve and close international cooperation to be addressed effectively.
We greatly value the love and friendship of our sisters and brothers in other European churches, and a group of us are writing to them publicly today to assure them that these relationships will continue. We also recognise that 31 January will bring uncertainty and anxiety to many EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living in the EU. Leaving the EU cannot mean abandoning our responsibilities towards these families.
Brexit exposed and exacerbated divisions in British society. The deeply held convictions that fuelled the Brexit debate will not simply go away, but our Christian faith urges us to be people of peace and reconciliation. If the bitterness of the last four years is not to persist in polluting our national life, we will all need to resist the temptation to hold on onto the hurts of the past, or to act in ways which will be perceived as triumphalist.
We will only be able to move towards having a sense of common purpose, despite our differences, when we choose to act with kindness, humility and respect towards those with whom we disagree. We call on our political leaders to set an example over the next weeks and months as we move towards negotiations which will require further decisions about priorities for the nations of the UK.
For our part, our Churches will be working and praying for:
a society where the poorest and most marginalised are at the centre
a society that welcomes the stranger
a just economy that enables the flourishing of all life
a planet where the environment is renewed
a world which actively works for peace
a politics characterised by listening, kindness and truthfulness.
Rev'd. Dr. Barbara Glasson and Professor Clive Marsh, President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference
Rev'd. David Mayne, Moderator of Council, Baptist Union of Great Britain
The Right Rev'd. Colin Sinclair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
Rev'd. Nigel Uden and Mr. Derek Estill, Moderators of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church
Most Rev'd. Father Olu Abiola OBE and Archbishop Fidelia Onyuku-Opukiri, Council of African and Caribbean Churches UK
Yvonne Campbell, General Secretary, on behalf of the Council of the Congregational Federation
Rev'd. Dr. Noel A Davies, Chair, Cytûn: Churches Together in Wales' Working Party on Wales and Europe
Bishop Simon Iheanacho, Overseer, UK World Evangelism Churches
Paul Parker, Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain
Most Rev'd. Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Update on the Methodist Church's ‘God in Love Unites Us’ consultation from the Rev'd. Dr. Jonathan Hustler, Secretary of the Conference
The Methodist Church in Britain is at the midpoint of a consultation on ‘God in love unites us’, the report which the Conference received and commended for study and on which all District Synods have been asked to vote. Those votes will approve, disapprove or approve with amendments some of the key resolutions of the Conference, namely:
The detail of these, the full text of the report and resources to support reading and reflection on the report can be found here.
Throughout this process, we have been praying with and for one another, accepting that we cannot always agree but seeking to witness to our unity as we live with contradictory convictions. There are conversations in train to discuss how we can deal with one another graciously after the 2020 Conference. The Conference will be asked to consider the outcome of those conversations together with recommendations about practical matters.
This debate is not peculiar to the Methodist Church in Britain. Both our ecumenical partners and our Methodist brothers and sisters overseas are also wrestling with these issues. The United Methodist Church’s General Conference meets in May to determine its next steps after its Conference in February last year resolved to reaffirm a ‘traditional’ understanding of marriage. Amongst the proposals that the General Conference will be asked to consider is one for the formal separation of some in the UMC from the rest of the body. The Methodist Church in Britain (MCB) is a concordat partner of the UMC, a global church present in Europe, Asia, Africa and the US and we work closely with it in the United States and in other parts of the world, particularly in Europe. We will be represented at the General Conference and we are in close and prayerful communication with our partners.
These are difficult and, for some, painful times. However, we remain united in prayer for one another, convinced that there is more that holds us together than causes us to differ, and confident that by the guidance of the Holy Spirit we can find a way (both in Britain and throughout the world) to live together as a Methodist family rejoicing in our common Wesleyan heritage.
What a wonderful Christmas it has been. It was wonderful to see so many people in Church for the Community Nativity, Carold by Candlelight and on Christmas Day itself as we welcomed Christ into our world and into our lives. The picture below is of worship on Christmas Day as we all shared the gifts we had received!
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