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 messages of support, prayer and reflection from around the world.
All We Can and the Methodist Church in Britain have launched an Emergency Coronavirus Appeal to help vulnerable communities around the world. Please contribute here. This appeal is being used in conjunction with Methodist Church grants to support communities and partner organisations in their work. Since the global lockdown over £425,000 has been used from the World Mission Fund to support the work of our partners. Their work has focussed on PPE support for health centres and staff, hygiene goods, support for staff and some costs to support organisations, but the majority have been for organisations to support congregations and communities that have no income. This is primarily in food support distribution that the partners organise or are part of in their location. For information on some of the grants given in recent weeks, read more here.
A Letter to World Church Partners
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.
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. Her latest update suggests how social distancing is challenging cultural practices for funerals, and the concerns over numbers of ventilators and equipment available to cope with growing COVID-19 cases.
- 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. Read their latest news from June 2020 here. The school where Jonathan works is closed for the time being and he is trying to stay in touch with students online. They report, 'the lockdown will not be very easy on the general population of Zimbabwe, many of whom are living from hand to mouth already, even workers in urban areas. Nor does everyone have the luxury of enough space to practise social distancing.'
- 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 shares here on the plight of migrants in the current Coronavirus outbreak.
- 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
- Dr 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. Read her latest April 2020 newsletter here.
- 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. Read her latest Easter 2020 news here. 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. Read more in their latest newsletter on the preparations and response to Coronavirus in Zambia. "after we have done all we can, let us go to God knowing he will never leave or forsake us, and in all our struggles, trust in his unfailing love to carry us and we can rejoice in his salvation."
News, Prayers and Messages of Solidarity from Partners around the World
Bangladesh - May 2020 Cyclone Amphan in the midst of lockdown, read more here. We have received this message from the Church of Bangladesh during the Coronavirus outbreak. 'Please pray for us so that we can survive together' Read more here.
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.
Christian Conference of Asia - May 2020 Churches must serve as beacons of hope and compassion amidst COVID-19 crisis, urge Asian leaders. Read more on the challenges and work of churches across Asia during Coronavirus here. For resources for Asia Sunday focussing on a theme 'God heal us as we are vulnerable' in the light of Coronavirus visit the CCA website here. Take part in the Zoom prayer service from Bangkok 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.
Fiji - A message of solidarity and news during the Coronavirus outbreak from Pacific Theological College, Fiji. Read more here. Read 'God, the Pandemic and an Easter Pastoral Message' from the Principle of the Pacific Theological College here.
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. Read an Easter message from the church in Italy
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. Read more on the situation at the hospital from Dr Claire Smithson.
Malaysia - The Methodist Church in Malaysia shared this letter at the end of April. "Our hearts continue to esteem the sacrificial contributions of the frontline care givers and service providers from both the public and private sectors. We see this challenging season eliciting caring, compassionate and generous responses from Malaysians as we meet the needs of “the last, the least and the lost”." Read more here.
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
Methodist Women in Britain - had suggested that Easter Offering for the world church is postponed until November. They have had to cancel their residential event but resources from the event and news from around the world will be put on their website.
The World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Women - continue to highlight the increase in domestic violence during the Coronavirus lockdown across the world. Read the report shared by the World Council of Churches here.
Letter of Solidarity and Prayer to World Church Partners from the President and Vice President of the Methodist Church in Britain