Methodist consultation. Manocchio: “Mobilization for climate and poverty”

In the aftermath of the Methodist consultation, new words, new proposals and reflections emerge

Mirella Manocchio

Rome (NEV), May 31, 2019 – The annual Methodist Consultation, which brought together numerous religious representatives and guests, was held in Ecumene (Velletri, Rome) from May 24 to 26 last.
“It was a participatory and choral consultation of all those present. An important moment of common reflection, meeting, exchange, evaluation and re-motivation – declared to the NEV Agency Mirella Manocchio, president of the Standing Committee of the Methodist churches’ works organization in Italy (OPCEMI) -. This denotes the desire to reflect together on themes and words that we consider central to our testimony”.
During the consultation, numerous topics were addressed, starting from the worship service structure and the need to re-understand community life with new models, successfully experimented in Germany and in England, as Barry Sloan, representative of the Methodist Church of Great Britan explained talking about fresh expressions.
These new community expressions see the creation of spaces such as bars, breweries, or the revisiting of places of worship open to cultural, sporting or recreational activities, with “different reasons than those of the churches”, in the view of ‘going out’, where people are, to establish relations, using a comprehensive language, even spiritual, through which it is possible to dialogue, ask questions and, in case, make choices of faith .

An important part of the work focused on the life of the church, on the buildings, on the contributions, on the work on the territories, to test “the state of health and the way in which we structure and support our testimony”, also stated Manocchio.
Two interesting points in terms of proposals for the future were presented: first of all, to start paying attention to poverty again, not only in economical terms, but also in terms of spiritual values. And second, to stand for sustainability and the environment, not based on what happens with the Friday for future urged by Greta Thunberg, but starting from what the great international ecumenical assemblies prophetically began to do in the 1980s and 1990s, linking, for example, the climate to social justice. “These are themes to be resumed with both hands – said Manocchio. A general mobilization of churches and local communities is needed, which must rethink their activities, also in ecumenical collaboration with Catholics and Orthodox”.
Approximately 60 representatives and guests participated in the Methodist Consultation, including the moderator of the Waldensian Board, Eugenio Bernardini, the secretary of the Evangelical Youth Federation in Italy (FGEI), Annapaola Carbonatto, a delegation from the Korean Church of Venice Mestre.
The opening cult was presided over by Pastor Peter Ciaccio who spoke on Matthew 5, 13-16, “a text that invites us first of all to make our faith explicit”, said Ciaccio, inviting the audience not to forget “Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Karl Barth, the thousand heroes of the faith that didn’t give in, the Righteous among the Nations”. The pastor proposed three points on which Christianity today is risking its survival: the attitude towards women, the acceptance of homosexual persons in the church, the migrants issue. “From the type of light that comes out from our actions, it will depend the reaction of those who see it”, the pastor concluded.