Methodist notes

 

Rev Bill Mullally, president of the Methodist Church in Ireland, took part in the National Day of Commemoration multi-faith service held last Sunday at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin.

Instead of wearing his military medal, Rev Mullally wore a safety pin on his preaching scarf as a sign of his – and the Methodist Church in Ireland’s – commitment to being an active part of the campaign to break down barriers of difference, promote tolerance and peace in our communities and, ultimately, combat racism.

Speaking after the service, Rev Mullally said “as people of faith, we are called to be a people of peace”.

“Today is about remembering those who, in time of danger, answered the call of duty, and with courage served this land, many laying down life itself.

“ It is also about remembering the important role that our defence forces play today in being promoters of peace as they serve on international peacekeeping and humanitarian missions and continue to help save the lives of refugees who make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean in search of safety.

“We must also remember all who have been – and continue to be – affected by conflict. May their pain strengthen our determination to be peacemakers in the world.”

Rev Mullally has also welcomed a resolution from the Methodist Church in Britain which reads as follows: “The Methodist Conference believes that the British Isles are enriched by diversity and celebrates the contribution made by those who have come from other parts of the world.

“The Christian tradition calls for respect, tolerance, love of neighbour and hospitality to the stranger. All bear responsibility of speaking and acting for healing, reconciliation and mutual respect.

“The Methodist Conference abhors and deeply regrets those actions and words which incite hatred and lead to victimisation of groups within society, and notes with concern that such actions and words have been normalised in recent public discourse.

“Believing that racism is a denial of the gospel, and that to stay silent when others are abused is to collude with those who seek to promote hatred and division, the Methodist Conference calls:

“On the Methodist people to challenge racism and discrimination;

“For a political debate which neither demonises any nor leaves the vulnerable (the foreigner, the immigrant and refugee) in danger of victimisation;

“On political leaders to work together for the good of the whole community, putting the needs of the nation before party politics;

“On all those in positions of power and authority to hear the voice of those who have been marginalised and alienated, and to respond to them in ways which offer real hope for the future.”

These two statements echo the joint statement of the four Irish church leaders when gathered together recently in France for the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

They jointly called for Christians of all traditions in Ireland to pray for peace in this time of challenge.

They said: “Let us put our faith into action – love our neighbours, reach out to the stranger, care for the vulnerable, build community and be agents of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation.”