Presidential Easter Message


The President and Vice-President of the MethodistConference have reminded people of the central Easter message ofhope, passion and joy in the midst of despair.

  • You can listen to the Easter messages here

Dr Jill Barber said: "This Easter we share Christ's tearsfor our world in all its pain. For children drowned fleeing fromthe unimaginable horrors of war. For unaccompanied children in thejungle at Calais,

"The Easter message is one of ... life from death, love strongerthan hate. At the moment of utter darkness, the light of the risenChrist breaks through."

The Revd Steven Wild added: "This Easter, with joy andlove, may we all cry Hallelujah and encounter the risenLord."

Click here to listen to the messages in full,or see below for the full texts.


The Vice-President's Message:

The image that fills my mind this Easter is Jesus weeping overJerusalem. Jesus longs to gather us as a hen gathers her chicksunder her wings, but do we want to be saved? When we see the news,it seems we are set on a path to our own destruction.

Ann Carr, one of the early women preachers, was sent to Leeds asa missionary in 1821, to work among the very poor. The majoritywere women, migrants from the countryside, desperate to find workin the textile industry. Lonely and lost. Displaced from home andfamily. Young single women, 'fallen women', widows. 

In seeking to share the good news, Ann found that the hymns ofthe time didn't use images that related to women's experience. WithMartha Williams, she founded the Female Revivalist Methodists andproduced their own hymn book, adapting the words of traditionalhymns, and writing their own. They gave women a voice.  

Seen through the eyes and hearts of the women who were first atthe tomb on Sunday morning, I find some of the Easter hymnsparticularly moving. 'Bring the sweet spices of your sight, Yourcontrite hearts and streaming eyes, Your sad complaints and humblefears! Come, and embalm him with your tears.' 'Mary - know thySaviour's voice, Hear it and reply, My Lord!' 'Happy Magdalene, towhom Christ the Lord vouchsafed to appear.' 'What a change his wordcan make, Turning darkness into day; Ye who weep for Jesu's sake,He will wipe your tears away.'

This Easter we share Christ's tears for our world in all itspain. For children drowned fleeing from the unimaginable horrors ofwar. For unaccompanied children in the jungle at Calais. For allthose caught up in the bewildering cycle of seemingly endlessviolence, in which it is not even clear who is fighting whom.Amongst it all we rejoice in signs of hope.

I rejoice in a group of friends, calling themselves theWorldwide Tribe, who decided to go to Calais to stand alongside themigrants in the Jungle. 'They can use force, be inhumane and cruel… We will respond with love. We will meet their ruthlessness withopenness. We will accept their brutality with dignity … We willstand in solidarity, as brothers and sisters of the world. We willpeacefully and gracefully continue towards equality. We will worktogether, side by side, as one community of international citizens.Violence, fear and oppression will never win.'

The Easter message is one of hope in the midst of despair, lifefrom death, love stronger than hate. At the moment of utterdarkness, the light of the risen Christ breaks through.  

Love wins.


The President's Message:

After the Lenten fast, which with study and prayer has broughtus closer to our Lord, we experience Holy Week with all the richesof the story so well known yet always fresh. As I've travelled, I'mthrilled that so many churches now make a Lenten cross out of themain trunk of the Christmas tree and decorate it with all thedifferent symbols. There are so many resources to help us thesedays in our journey of discipleship.

But the glory of Easter is unsurpassed. The cry of allChristians to shout 'Hallelujah' is our birthright. We want andneed more of the resurrection power and joy in the Church. Lukerecording the early days of Christianity says of the firstbelievers 'With great power the apostles continued to testify tothe resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God's grace was sopowerfully at work in them all' - Acts 4:33.

This time last year I had the great privilege of going toPortugal and being on a Holy Week mission with Bishop Sifredo andmeeting our Methodist sisters and brothers in that beautifulcountry. We did many exciting outreach initiatives. On Easter Day Iwas at Aveiro Methodist Church, a thrilling place to be. We passedby a large Roman Catholic procession, children in white and thebright sun gleaming on the banners. 

We Methodists are small in comparison, but each church memberwas invited to bring a person to Easter breakfast and the hall wasfull when I arrived and shared in a very hearty breakfast. Theworship band and singers enabled us to worship in the glory of therisen Christ and I preached on Mary's encounter with the risen Lord- challenging the congregation to meet with him too. The silverchalices and beautiful loaf were uncovered on the table. 

I had an interpreter and so my words could have beenmisunderstood, but I held half the bead and said: "If you want aliving relationship with the risen Christ take and eat". At whichpoint a blonde young woman got up in her pew walked down the aisleand dug into the bread weeping. She pushed the bread down herthroat.

It's the strongest reaction I've ever known to someone wantingto encounter the triumphant Jesus.

A Methodist President and brilliant speaker of years past, theRevd Dr William Sangster, was found by his wife one Easter morningweeping. He had muscular atrophy and could not speak.She said: "Why are you crying Will?" He wrote on a piece of paper:'It is Easter Day and I cannot say: "Hallelujah"'.

This Easter, with joy and love, may we all cry Hallelujah andencounter the risen Lord.