The United Methodist Church in Central and Southern Europe consists of approximately 30.000 members and friends living in 13 countries (you can find a map here), celebrating worship services in about 20 languages and share God’s love in even more languages and expressions.
On this website you will learn more about this unique part of the worldwide family of The United Methodist Church.
Bishop Dr. Stefan Zürcher
The United Methodist Church in countries directly or indirectly neighboring to Ukraine is very active in the ministries with and for Ukrainian refugees. Here you can find regular update reports (in English language) on these activities and on the situation in the various countries.
Between Christmas and New Year, I had time to read. I picked up the book "Grace to Lead. Practicing Leadership in the Wesleyan Tradition. This book, written by retired Methodist Bishop Ken Carder and Laceye Warner, really spoke to me and made me think. I would like to share some of the key messages with you:
Leadership in the Church is following Christ. Leaders are first and foremost followers of Jesus. In discipleship, individuals and communities become more like Christ through God's grace and thus become signs, foretastes, and instruments of God's mission in this world. Growth in discipleship, in grace and love for God and neighbor, is always also growth in leadership.
Leadership is a gift of grace. Grace is the source of calling, motivation, heart formation, empowerment, and enablement of leaders in the Church. Leadership is God's work in and through us, not something we can do in our own strength - which does not mean that we cannot learn from others and train leadership skills.
Character is the heart of leadership. Motivation, character and personality development and character-building practices ("works of piety and mercy") are at the heart of leadership in the Church. Being and character precede doing. Skills and competencies that we acquire must be grounded in this being. Guiding values include mercy, justice, generosity, shalom, joy and hope.
Leadership in the Church is anchored in God and his word. Christian leaders are deeply rooted in the Bible and in the foundations of faith, tradition, theology, and the means of grace. These shape their identity, motivation, vision, mission, and practices. They are oriented towards God's kingdom and its mission, which aims at holistic redemption and shalom, i.e. reconciliation, healing and transformation of individuals, society, and the whole of creation.
Small groups are essential for "heart formation". No one can follow Christ alone. Even more so, no one can lead alone. We need communities in which we support and carry each other, and in which we hold each other accountable and responsible.
In the Church, we find ourselves in the area of tension between leadership as management according to principles and techniques from the business world and leadership as a spiritual task. The source and foundation of leadership in the Church is God's grace and following Jesus. If these are clear, we can gratefully use tools from other areas as well.
Bishop Stefan Zürcher
The church year is coming to an end these days, and many local churches are remembering people who have passed away in recent months. One of these people is the Macedonian pastor Zora Vuckova, who experienced incredible things in her ministry and who is worth remembering.
Galina had an important post at the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhya. Dunya is an instructor at the front. Yulia is trying to save cultural life in Kherson. All these women experienced the war in Ukraine and now have to come to terms with what they have experienced. But how do they manage to overcome the horror and move on?
Actually, the Dorcas Resort in Hungary would be a very nice place to spend a vacation. However, what "actually" would be, does not always correspond to what really is...
Nine of the sixteen French local churches will leave the worldwide United Methodist Church. This was the result of votes in early October, which have now been confirmed by an assembly of all local churches in France. The reasons for leaving are the different views on questions of sexual orientation.