25 November 2020
First national Christmas campaign brings Methodist churches and charities together
#GodIsWithUs: Stories of service, loss and sacrifice through the pandemic reveal the hope and joy of a loving God who is with us at all times
For the first time the Methodist Church of Great Britain has come together with charities and other Methodist organisations to retell the good news at the heart of the Christmas story through 24 experiences of people affected by the pandemic and other traumatic events this year.
Stories such as Meryl from the Welsh borders whose husband of 58 years died this year in a care home but who has found peace in her faith during a traumatic time.
Or, Dionne, an Action for Children foster carer living in Northumberland. Her story looks at life as a foster carer and how, when her foster daughter turns 18 in January, she has a difficult decision ahead – but through all the uncertainty, God offers her a path ahead.
Chris is a Methodist lay-worker in Newcastle, who works at a debt advice centre. Her story looks at how she meets with God in her work and in the people she supports.
Sam, a local preacher based in London, reflects on the murder of George Floyd and how he finds God’s presence in the cries for justice of in the Black Lives Matter movement.
Speaking about the #GodIsWithUs campaign, the Revd Richard Teal, President of the Methodist Conference, said:
“The final words of John Wesley were ‘The best of all God is with us’. This is the good news that our neighbours, our friends, our families, and our communities need: that we are loved by a God who is with us always, no matter what we’re going through or what the future brings.”
The campaign is supported by Methodist bodies such as international aid charity, All We Can, care home provider, MHA and advocate for young people, Action for Children, all of whom have faced significant challenges of their own this year.
Sam Monaghan, Chief Executive of Methodist Homes (MHA) said:
“2020 has touched us all in so many ways and I am delighted that two of the stories during the season of Advent are being told by people connected with MHA, one of our members and one of our music therapists. For many of MHA’s residents, members, staff and volunteers, they have known God journeying with them and as a source of comfort through the past year, and He will continue to be with them as we go into Christmas and 2021.”
Graeme Hodge, Chief Executive of All We Can, said:
“We are delighted to join together with our Methodist Family to rejoice in the promise that even during such troubled times, God is with us. We hope that people will come to know this truth more deeply over the Christmas period through sharing in the stories of Maureen and Moses, two people supported by All We Can’s work in Uganda.”
Karis Kolawole, Action for Children Head of Faith Partnerships, said:
“This year, as never before, we’ve learnt what can be achieved by communities coming together, which is why Action for Children is delighted to be part of this Christmas campaign with so many others.
“Our frontline staff have worked tirelessly to support some of our country’s most vulnerable families as the pandemic hit hard, with children and young people among those to suffer the most.
To be able to share the story of one of our dedicated foster carers, doing all they can to give the children in their care a safe and happy childhood, gives us all hope at this very special time of year.”
In addition to sharing stories of hope, a free CD has been produced for churches to give to people who are not on the internet so that they can join in the campaign during Advent and Christmas. Over 6000 copies have been pre-ordered.
The campaign is a partnership across the whole Methodist family, including the Connexional Team, JPIT (Joint Public Issues Team), Methodist Schools, Methodist Forces Board, MHA, All We Can, Action for Children, Methodist Ministers' Housing Society, Methodist Women in Britain, and LWPT (the Leaders of Worship and Preachers Trust).