Superintendents Letter - 22nd July 2020
Below is this week's letter from our Superintendents, a reflection on the questions that the Coronavirus pandemic has raised about modern society, humankind and the role of the body of Christ.
Dear Sisters & Brothers of the Birmingham Methodist Circuit
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ from your Superintendency Team.
At the end of May an article was published in a nation newspaper written by the foreign affairs commentator Simon Tisdall. Entitled ‘After the pandemic: Like it or not, a new age of revolution is dawning’, the article reflected on what had been learned up to that point during the lockdown. Tisdall wrote, “Two things are clear. First, the virus is universal and ubiquitous – a threat to all humankind. Second, its impacts are deeply unequal, decisively determined by social class, race, ethnicity, income, nutrition, education, living conditions and geographical location, as well as gender and age.” He goes on to call for a global “vision of humankind working in concert to defeat common evils.”
Roll on a couple of months, our national government has now set out its programme for the easing of restrictions, and all in the hope that things will get back to how they were by Christmas. But do we want things to go back to how they were? Look back for a moment: almost overnight rough sleepers were taken off the streets and given safe accommodation; the people upon whom our lives, livelihoods and lifestyles depend were acknowledged and celebrated; and the limitation on road and air travel cut pollution rates to such a degree that there were visible signs of creation beginning to heal. We realised what truly mattered to us, particularly in terms of what Methodism has defined as the ‘Equality, Diversity & Inclusion’ agenda, because now we know that we had the ability to live in a better society.
As we prepare to re-open our church buildings, we must ask ourselves, ‘To what end?’ If we, the people of the Birmingham Circuit, want things to go back to how they were then we have not learnt the most significant collective lesson of our age. We must not become a collection of social groups that happen to bear the name of Jesus Christ. Instead, let us reflect long and hard on what God is teaching us about the nature and purpose of the Christian Church and its mission to a hurting world. By the time we reach the celebration of the birth of our Loved One, Jesus, let us pray that things have moved forward to where God wants us to be.
We thank Rev. Vicki Atkinson and Rev. David Alford for their ministries among us, they will be greatly missed by their congregations and colleagues, alike. We pray that they will find joy in their new circuit appointments.
Grace & peace be with you all.
Alison, Nick & Neil
Get in Touch
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