North Macedonia's President Stevo Pendarovski thanked the Churches shortly before Christmas for their commitment to peace and dialogue. A pastor of The United Methodist Church was also honored.
A few days before last Christmas, a special celebration took place in North Macedonia. In a ceremony organized by the Commission for Churches and Religious Communities under the motto "Faith is stronger than any crisis", the President of the country addressed the representatives of Churches and religious communities. He thanked them for their commitment to peace and dialogue and honored some personalities. Among those honored was a pastor of The United Methodist Church.
The ceremony and honoring in the capital Skopje was attended by Stevo Pendarovski, the President of North Macedonia, and the representatives of all Churches and religious communities, as well as other ministers from the government and the heads of diplomatic missions. During the ceremony, Mihail Cekov, retired pastor of The United Methodist Church in North Macedonia, received a special award. The government of his country honored him for his long-standing commitment to ecumenism and interreligious dialogue.
During the difficult transition resulting from the disintegration of Yugoslavia after 1990, The United Methodist Church in Macedonia became an important factor in overcoming ethnic and religious differences from the difficult legacy of the former Yugoslavia. During this period, Cekov made a significant contribution to building mutual understanding and trust and to conducting a successful dialogue. With the support of President Boris Trajkovski, who tragically died in 2004, Cekov co-organized important peace conferences. The joint efforts for peace and dialogue resulted in the establishment of an Interreligious Council in 2003. In this region of Europe, such initiatives are a rarity.
In the laudation for Cekov's honor, in addition to his contribution to the development of humanitarian work and the preaching and educational activities of The United Methodist Church in North Macedonia, special mention was made of his commitment to good ecumenical cooperation.
The United Methodist Church in North Macedonia is a small minority. With great commitment, however, people of this Church succeed again and again in sowing hope and leaving traces of blessing far beyond the borders of their own congregations.
Source: www.emk.de / Klaus Ulrich Ruof / Bishop’s Office Zurich / Urs Schweizer