You Are Not Alone

Tampa, Florida, May 2, 2012—World Council of Churches General Secretary Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit addressed the 2012 General Conference of The United Methodist Church, lifting up the ecumenical movement as a way forward together for Christians beset by days of fear and uncertainty.

“You have affirmed that making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world is your mission,” Tveit said, referring to the theme of the General Conference. “You do so amidst many unknowns….This call to costly discipleship and mutual accountability is an ecumenical call,” he said.

Offering his sermon during a worship service that celebrated ecumenism, Tveit said he heard a “new ecumenical affirmation of mission” while traveling recently in the Philippines. “We need mission in and from the many margins,” he urged, “where Christ reveals himself in the reality as it is.”

At the margins, he indicated, he has heard the “painful and powerful” testimonies of those who face oppression. “As disciples of the church,” he said, “they offered a prophetic word for justice and peace against their fear, through grassroots advocacy, educational programs, and common prayer.”

Dr. Tveit called on Christians around the world to accompany Christian minorities in the Middle East, stating that without this presence, “the conviviality among peoples from different faiths, cultures, [and] civilizations, which is a sign of God’s love for all humanity, will be endangered.”

He spoke of the World Council of Church’s Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine/Israel and said it is meant to “encourage all in power to see and change what is the reality of so many ordinary people in their daily life: Occupation, fear, harassments, even violence. We cannot speak about balance where there is no balance, when one part is occupying, and another has been occupied,” he said.

“Jesus, who walks on troubled waters, would have us work together all the more as Christians and also with those of other faiths to calm the seas of the world,” Tveit said, referring to the day’s gospel reading from the book of Mark and lifting up the “essential kernels of the gospel—justice, peace, and love.”

Dr. Tveit underscored that while we may not fully understand the mystery of Christ or how to advance his love in the midst of uncertainty, we can do something. “The common journey causes us to recognize that we can move before knowing everything,” he said.

“What we do know are the words of our Savior to us as we struggle in the boat together, ‘Take heart, it is I; have no fear!’”

Sign up for our newsletter!

SUBSCRIBE

Latest News

General Church
Delegates attend opening worship at the 2019 United Methodist General Conference in St. Louis in February. Given escalating conflict in the denomination over LGBTQ inclusion, two bishops are pushing a plan to create two or three self-governing church groups, with The United Methodist Church remaining as an umbrella organization. File photo by Kathleen Barry, UM News.

2 bishops offer plan for denomination’s future

To deal with schism-threatening conflict over homosexuality, Bishops Bard and Jones favor making The United Methodist Church an umbrella for self-governing church groups.
Theology and Education
The Rev. Laceye C. Warner is Associate Dean for Wesleyan Engagement and the Royce and Jane Reynolds Associate Professor of the Practice of Evangelism and Methodist Studies at Duke University Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina.  Photo by Les Todd.

John Wesley reminds us that grace is available to all

Seminary professor Laceye C. Warner writes that Wesley’s instructions to modern Methodists would be the same as Methodists of his day: Extend God’s love and grace to others.
Theology and Education
David F. Watson is Academic Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of New Testament at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. Photo courtesy of United Theological Seminary.

Wesley would call modern Methodists to return to their roots

Wesley knew that the people called Methodists were themselves liable to spiritual slumber. Seminary professor David F. Watson thinks Wesley would direct today’s church back to the intentional practices of the Methodist societies.