Coronavirus and our Global connections
The Global Relationships team is working during this time to keep the Methodist Church in Britain closely connected with our Mission Partners, partner churches and organisations around the world. This page is to keep you updated with the global picture of Coronavirus and the messages of support and prayer from around the world.
The Revd Dr Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Church and Prof Clive Marsh, Vice-President of the Methodist Church, have written to our partner churches. Here is the text of their letter which includes a prayer:
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
As the President and Vice President of the Methodist church in Britain we want to greet you, as Heads of Churches and Partner Organisations, at this time of global upheaval and uncertainty.
Covid-19 is impacting our world in unprecedented ways, generating fear, stretching resources to the limit and testing our leaders and our communities.
In some countries, such as our own, fear is leading to panic-buying and empty shelves in our shops and pharmacies. This impacts most on the vulnerable and those whose time to access the shops is limited because they are our front-line health care workers. Fear also feeds racism, and sadly in some instances we have witnessed a rise in racist victimisation of those of Asian origin.
We continue to follow Jesus, whose perfect, life-giving love casts out fear and models solidarity with those whom society values least. We continue to worship the one God in whose image each one is made and in whose sight each one is precious.
The stretching of resources again reminds us of God’s prophetic call to look at the control and use of goods and services. Corona has exposed discriminatory systems. Workers with the least have the poorest economic protection; countries with the least will have their ability to serve their people in crisis negatively impacted by international injustices.
Our communities and our churches seek new ways to reach out. Many of us are adjusting to the current reality of having to offer pastoral care and worship in a time when we are restricted from gathering with others. We thank God for new technologies, but remain very conscious of the impact of isolation on the spiritual and mental wellbeing of those we are called to pastor, and very mindful that access to new media is neither universal nor just. We are particularly aware of people in countries already struggling with poor healthcare and nutrition and most acutely those who are refugees or living in confined areas due to political restrictions.
In this Lenten season, our leaders are being tested as they seek to make the wisest responses to a fast-changing situation. We hold you all in our prayers. We deeply value our partnership with you. We thank God for you and for our shared work and history. We thank God for our fellowship with you in Christ. Please be assured of our prayers for you. We thank you for your prayers for us. We remain joyfully and resolutely committed to our partnership with you and our Global Relationships team will use the technologies available to maintain our contact with you through this turbulent season.
As you and we seek to be faithful to God’s mission at all times, and as we seek to discover new ways to express the beautiful Good News of God with us in Jesus, may we rejoice in our oneness in Christ, be blown into new places by God’s Spirit and may we watch over each other in love.
We close with a prayer:
If we are ill, strengthen us.
If we are tired, fortify our spirits.
If we are anxious, help us to consider the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.
Help us not to stockpile treasures from supermarkets in the barns of our larders.
Don't let fear cause us to overlook the needs of others more vulnerable than ourselves.
Fix our eyes on your story and our hearts on your grace.
Help us always to hold fast to the good,
See the good in others,
And remember there is just one world, one hope,
One everlasting love, with baskets of bread for everyone.
In Jesus we make our prayer,
The one who suffered, died and was raised to new life,
In whom we trust these days and all days,
Please pray for our Mission Partners around the world at this time.
- Anne Baldwin has just returned from serving in Sri Lanka. Read about her having to pack up and leave in just 12 hours because of the cancellation of flights here.
- Dr Hans and Mary Van den Corput are serving in Nigeria. At present Hans is continuing to work at the mission hospital. If there are no procedures the funds for the hospital will slow down.
- Jenny Featherstone is serving in Zambia and expecting to come back to the UK on final furlough in the summer. She is waiting to see what travel may be possible.
- Revd Eden Fletcher is in Hong Kong where life is slowly returning to normal, although all schools remain shut. 'Normal' means a return to some of the protests of recent months.
- Dr John and Sharon Harbottle are currently on home leave from service with the Eglise Méthodiste d'Haïti. They are sharing in their community sharing the lessons learned through food shortages and lockdowns during their time in Haiti. They share news from the news from Haiti during Coronavirus March 28, 2020. Read more here.
- Jonathan and Isabel Hill are serving in Zimbabwe. The school where Jonathan works is closed for the time being.
- Deacon Angleena Keizer is serving at the Methodist Liaison Office in Jerusalem. Angleena is isolated from her colleagues but is in good spirits. She has plenty of food and shops nearby and is exercising, praying, and studying. Read more about her lockdown situation in a recent item for prayer here.
- Fiona Kendall works with Mediterranean Hope, a project created in Italy to support refugees. She is currently at home and staying safe.
- Revd Dr Daniel and Grace Pratt Morris-Chapman are serving in Rome as Mission Partners. They are staying indoors with the family and your can read more on their experience during the Coronavirus outbreak in their March 2020 newsletter here.
- Sheila Norris is serving in Japan. She can still get out and about and there are no shortages in Nagasaki apart from hand sanitizer and facemasks.
- Revd Dr. Barry Sloan, and his wife Gillian, are mission partners in Chemnitz, Germany. They are on lock down, and their usual work has changed, they are now connecting with community groups that have started. Read more here
- Claire Smithson is serving in Kenya. She reports that there has been a case of Coronavirus in their county and they are making preparations at Maua Methodist Hospital.
- Freddie and Dee Takaravasha are serving in Southern Africa. They are doing well and awaiting government advice.
- Michael and Joanna Tettey are serving in Togo. They are well and home schooling their children whilst being largely confined in their house.
- Rachel Ullmer is serving in Pakistan. She was due to come back to Britain at the start of April but is now extending her stay for 3 more months because of the difficulties in travel. During the Coronavirus outbreak Rachel is working with friends in her congregation to provide a food bank. Read more here.
- Keith and Ida Waddell are serving in Zambia. They are relocating from Lusaka to Mwandi, to a more rural area, so they are isolated from the health worker who lives in the same house.
News, Prayers and Messages of Solidarity from Partners around the World
China - Letter of solidarity and prayer from Amity March 2020 during the Coronavirus pandemic, 'Having been through the difficult times ourselves....our hearts and minds are with you.' Read more here. China Christian Council March update on the Coronavirus. "There is an old saying in China: The grace of dripping water should be reciprocated by a gushing spring. Now China is working closely with the rest of the world to provide assistance and experience" Read more here.
Methodist Church in the Caribbean and Americas - '...please be assured of our thoughts and prayers...' read the letter of solidarity and prayer from Bishop Everald L. Galbraith. Also read Pause and Reflect - a devotional reflection from Bishop Galbraith during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Italy - Read their prayer and listen to the head of the church speak about their experience during the pandemic. The joint Methodist and Waldensian church in Italy is setting aside 8 million EURO for the Coronavirus emergency. This funding comes from the state Otto per Mile tax scheme, of which the church in Italy is allocated an amount every year for social projects in Italy and abroad.
Also read a reflection from the Church of South India on Coronavirus, inequality and poverty: "Outbreaks and plagues in the past often led to the victimization of the poor and the vulnerable. We should be on the guard against the ways that outbreaks of disease have historically led to the persecution of marginalized people." Read more here.
Kenya - A general grant has been sent from the World Mission Fund to provide essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline Medics handling the COVID-19 pandemic at Maua Methodist Hospital, Methodist Church Kenya.
Sri Lanka - A statement from the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka on the Coronavirus crisis, read more here. During the Coronavirus crisis the church is giving thought to the plight of prisoners. Read more here.
Prayers have been shared from the Theological College of Lanka, "let us assure you are fullest support and prayer at this time, and we in return request your intercession towards us." Read more here.
Other Partners working Globally