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Pan-Methodist commission issues response to Sudan

 


Pan-Methodist commission issues response to Sudan

Nov. 23, 2004      

By Linda Green*

DALLAS (UMNS) — Five Methodist denominations are calling on government and international officials to establish a peace process in the war-ravaged country of Sudan that “holistically considers the concerns of all Sudanese parties and ethnic groups.”

War has created deep brokenness throughout the world, the Commission on Pan-Methodist Cooperation and Union noted in an open letter to U.S. and United Nations officials. “Particularly, we are distraught that tens of thousands of God’s people in Darfur, Sudan, die from preventable famine, disease and violence as part of state-sponsored genocide.”

The commission, meeting Nov. 19-21, urged that the leaders respond to the humanitarian crisis, which has claimed more than 300,000 lives and left more than 3 million people at risk. The open letter was addressed to U.S. President George Bush, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, U.S. Secretary of State designate Condoleezza Rice, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Danforth.

“As Methodists, believing there is no holiness but ‘social holiness,’ we urgently call for the establishment of peace and security throughout the nation of Sudan,” the commission said. “It is clear that there can be no resolution to the humanitarian crisis until there is a broader plan for regional stability brokered by the United Nations Security Council and the African Union.”

The Commission on Pan Methodist Cooperation and Union represents five strands of American Methodism – the African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Union American Methodist Episcopal and United Methodist churches. The body represents more than 15 million Methodists worldwide.

Jay Williams, a United Methodist from New York and advocate for Sudan, introduced the idea of a commission response to the crisis in the African country. After he highlighted conditions there, particularly in Darfur, the commission approved a letter to the Bush administration and U.S. Congress “to implore further diplomatic pressure to urge the government of Sudan to withdraw all government-sponsored raiding entities and dispatch necessary and adequate peace enforcement personnel to Darfur.”

The commission’s function is to highlight ways the Methodist bodies can cooperate in various areas and discuss how to move toward union by redefining and strengthening the entities relationship in Jesus Christ.

Williams, who has helped liberate Sudanese slaves, told the Pan-Methodist commission that as it engages in unity, it should not ignore the disunion, suffering and strife in the Sudan and other places in the world.

“As the commission is primarily African-American Methodist denominations, the people of color, the people that look like us in Africa, are being slaughtered by the day. As people of faith, we are called to respond, but as people of color with faith, we are called to respond even more,” he said.

He noted Jesus’ admonition to care for the “least” and the fact that numerous people stood up for African Americans throughout slavery and suffering in America, he said. “We have to respond … as a prophetic voice of witness when the rest of the world has turned their backs on Sudan.”

AME Bishop E. Earl McCloud Jr. of Atlanta, chairperson of the commission, stressed the importance of the group responding to the Sudan crisis. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” he said.

Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

 

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