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Indberetningen fra Centralkonferencens Råd og biskopskomiteen er på engelsk oggiver et indblik i Metodistkirkens internationale liv og karakter. 

I indberetningen berører biskopperne konflikten i Ukraine, menneskets seksualitet og den særlige kommission, der er nedsat til at finde en vej frem i det komplekse emne, om Metodistkirken i Baltikum og Norden. Teksterne er på engelsk, men giver et fint indblik i hvor international en organisation Metodistkirken også er.

Efter indberetningen fra biskopkomiteen finder du dels et antal forslag til ændringer er Metodistkirkens grundlov, som skal behandles på alle Metodistkirkens årskonferencer verden over for at være lovlige, dels findes et antal resolutioner, altså opfordringer til handlinger eller særlige meninger på områder så forskellige som opførsel frem mod afklaring af "A Way Forwards", klimaforandringer og migration. 

Du finder indberetningen her nedenfor og bagefter ændringsforslag til konstitutionen (gå direkte dertil her) og endelig resolutionerne (gå direkte dertil her).

Centralkonferencens Råd og Biskopskomité indberetning

The Northern Europe and Eurasia Central Conference Council Report to the 2017 Annual Conferences 

In God we live, move and exist. The God of love and transformation moves through our societies with some wonderful changes and tough challenges. We live in a time when the need for peace, security and clarity of mission and vision is so great that we need each other as never before. Our United Methodist brothers and sisters have experienced war in Ukraine since 2014. The Nordic countries together with most of Western Europe find themselves in a historic time of challenge and opportunity, for how we can love our neighbors when they come to our country in large numbers? Russia is moving back to the Soviet-like laws that restrict the religious freedom. Our own United Methodist global body is experiencing many challenges around the issue of human sexuality as we are trying to figure out how we can stay united and at the same time move forward. We need God in whom we live, move and exist so that in the midst of these challenges we can continue to be filled with hope and fulfill our mission and vision. 


Conflict 

Our central conference has experienced dramatic changes during the 2012-2016 quadrennium due to the acts of war in eastern Ukraine. In spite of suffering and much uncertainty caused by violence and war the United Methodist Church in Ukraine continues its ministry. We have two churches in the Eastern Ukraine, in Lugansk and Krasnoarmeisk near Donetsk. The bombing of Lugansk was felt by many of our United Methodist people. One bomb fell in the garden of the neighboring house of our church building and damaged both the neighbor’s house and the church. 

The congregation in Lugansk which consists of 65 people became refugees and left the city. Only three elderly member of Lugansk UMC decided to stay in the city. A few members have now returned back to Lugansk even though it is still dangerous and uncertain to live there. Ten members of Lugansk UMC moved to the Chelyabinsk region where they are given shelter, food and physical and spiritual support by our church in Satka. Our members of UMC in Sochi and Voronezh, Kiev and Uzhgorod minister to refugees from Eastern Ukraine who come to the Sochi and Voronezh region in the Southern Russia and to Kiev and Uzhgorod in Western Ukraine. During the crisis, the bishops sent out information about the development, and the annual conferences in the Nordic and Baltic area were encouraged to pray and to offer financial support. 


A World Wide Connection 

In a serious crisis like this, we experience what it means to be a worldwide connection. UMCOR has provided significant help to Ukrainian refugees in Southern Russia and to members of Lugansk UMC who became refugees (documented and undocumented) within Ukraine and Russia.  

The Germany Central Conference and the South and Central Europe Central Conference have sent financial support, and all the annual conferences in the Nordic and Baltic area have contributed with a total of approximately 15.000 EURO through either gifts or local church offerings. We thank God for the generosity of our sisters and brothers throughout the connection. 


Celebrations in Ukraine 

As of today, the situation in Ukraine is still difficult. People suffer economically. But in the midst of this struggling situation, we as United Methodists are determined to work on unity and make every possible effort to build peace. One of the encouraging developments is our ministry in Lugansk UMC, Eastern Ukraine. Our newly appointed pastor Alexandr Shevchenko continues to minister to the people of Lugansk and to study at our Seminary in Moscow. As a medical doctor he can help people with their physical and spiritual needs. This spring and summer, the leaders from Ukraine and South Russia have continued their conversation about Lugansk UMC. After much prayer and discussion, the consensus was reached between Ukraine and Moldova Provisional Annual Conference and South Russia Provisional Annual Conference that Lugansk UMC would join South Russia Provisional Annual Conference. This would help our church to better experience the connectional nature of our church and be encouraged and supervised by the district superintendent of the South district (South Russia). Lugansk UMC received warm welcome at the South Russia Provisional Annual Conference session in June 2016. 

Another joyful experience has been the Consecration of our new church building in Sredne, Uzhgorod region, Western Ukraine on April, 2016. The ministry with Roma people in this region is growing, and people are very open for the good news of Jesus Christ. I want to thank all of our European and American partners who helped us make this dream come true. Thanks be to God for this church and for our connection! 

Let us continue to pray for the people of Ukraine as they struggle in their daily life. 

General Agencies 

We have several of our leaders serving in general agencies doing an excellent job in bringing the Northern European or Eurasian perspective into the conversation and the work of the agencies. The area groups receive reports from of our representatives and help to pass on information and build relations. Several agencies have done work in our annual conferences, and we continue to benefit from support through seminars, the Advance and through missionaries assigned to annual conferences.
One excellent example of this was seminar for indigenous peoples in continuation of the celebration of the centennial of the forming of the Sami nation in Norway. The seminar was supported by and planned in collaboration with the General Board of Church and Society. 


The Nordic and Baltic area group

The Nordic and Baltic area group 

In the Nordic and Baltic area group an effort has been made to build relationships between local churches across the episcopal area to strengthen the connection. There is a growing exchange of resources and experiences on a local church level as well as on the conference level. This is particularly true when it comes to youth ministry, where connections between Lithuania and Norway, and Latvia and Denmark are becoming increasingly fruitful. An important factor in strengthening the connection is the School of Congregational Development, which in 2015 in Tallinn for the first time included the whole episcopal area. 

A subcommittee of the area group is behind the publishing of a new series of books entitled “Nordic Perspectives on Methodism”. The purpose of this series is as the title indicates to stimulate Wesleyan theological thinking and writing in the Nordic context. The first book entitled “What is Methodist Identity Today?” came out in 2015 and is already sold out. The second book, which focuses on “diaconia”, was presented at the central conference in Fredrikstad, and it is now for sale. 


Strong relationship with the Uniting Church in Sweden 

Several dialogue-meetings have taken place between leadership of the Uniting Church in Sweden and the United Methodist Church represented by rev. Knut Refsdal, rev. Øyvind Helliesen and Bishop Christian Alsted. The bilateral dialogue following the 2012 Central Conference was concluded in the fall of 2014, and after a mutual approval process, an agreement of full communion1 was signed at the Council of Bishops meeting 1st May 2015 in Berlin by church leader Lasse Svensson and the president of the Council of Bishops Warner H Brown Jr. At a joint worship service on Sunday 25th October 2015 in Malmö, Sweden, the same agreement was signed in the Northern Europe and Eurasia context by church leader Lasse Svensson and bishop Christian Alsted. Finally, the agreement was ratified at the 2016 General Conference. 

As part of the agreement there will be United Methodist delegates in the annual conference of the Uniting Church in Sweden, and the will be delegates from the Uniting Church in Sweden participating in the General Conference and in our Central Conference, these delegates will all have vote and no vote. 

We also joyfully note that the Uniting Church in Sweden has become member of the European Methodist Council and of the World Methodist Council.

The World Methodist Conference in Northern Europe 

In august 2016, the World Methodist Council accepted an invitation from the Uniting Church in Sweden to host the 22nd World Methodist Conference in Gothenburg in 2021. The annual conferences in Norway and Denmark have promised to support the Uniting Church in Sweden in this endeavor. Having the World Methodist Conference in Northern Europe offers us a unique opportunity to experience the world- wide Methodist connection of more than 82 million Methodists, Wesleyans and Uniting Church Christians. The invitation emphasizes the commitment of the Uniting Church in Sweden to maintain and develop their relationship to the Methodist tradition. The World Methodist Conference will take place 18- 22. August 2021 in Gothenburg, Sweden. 

Human sexuality 

Since 1972 the United Methodist Church has debated homosexuality. Across the denomination, there are several different understandings of how the church should be in ministry with homosexuals. There are sincere and loving Christians of genuine faith who are convinced that the church should retain its current position, while there are other Christians just as sincere, loving and genuine in their faith who are convinced that the church must change its current position.

There are deep divisions in the church about human sexuality, but the 2016 General Conference showed that there are options other than restructuring. We do not desire to split the church, and we seek unity for the sake of our mission and witness. 

On a mandate from General Conference, the Council of Bishops has initiated a process to help the church move into the future. A Commission for A Way Forward has started its work with the purpose of examining and possibly revising sections of church law regarding human sexuality. The Commission includes representation from every region of the UMC and from different perspectives. There are two members on the commission from Europe, David Fields, a layperson from Switzerland and Bishop Rosemarie Wenner from Germany Due to the initiated process, the General Conference made no changes to the Book of Discipline regarding our official positions on matters of human sexuality. Since General Conference, the tension has increased as the Western Jurisdictional Conference in the US elected and consecrated an openly Lesbian elder as bishop, and as the South Central Jurisdiction following requested a review by the Judicial Council of whether the election, consecration and assignment violates church law. 

The Central Conference reflected on and discussed perspectives relating to Human Sexuality and the situation of the denomination. Through the passing of a resolution, the conference expressed robust support for the work of the commission On A Way Forward, while it decided not to express opinions on decisions made by conferences in other parts of the world. 


The 2016 Central Conference 

The local churches in Fredrikstad as well as the annual conference in Norway were wonderful hosts of the 2016 Central Conference. We sincerely thank them for their inspired and dedicated work in contributing to the program and offering radical hospitality to the participants, which contributed significantly to the success of the conference.
Financial result of the Central Conference was a small deficit
The next Central Conference will be in the early spring of 2021 in Tallinn, Estonia. 

A General Book of Discipline

A General Book of Discipline 

The General Conference charged the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters with the task to bring a proposal for at General Book of Discipline, which will contain all of the present parts 1 to 5 and a significantly reduced part 6 only giving the basic theological principles, values and organizational guidelines. Parts 1 to 6 can only be changed by General Conference. Each central conference will then develop its own part 7 with paragraphs specifying the guideline given in part 6. Each annual conference is asked to study a sample of part 6 containing only the basic theological principles, values and organizational guidelines and to offer feedback before the end of 2017. 

The Northern Europe and Eurasia Book of Discipline 

The 2016 Northern Europe and Eurasia supplement to the Book of Discipline was published in the spring of 2017. The supplement also includes a historical statement, a reading guide, paragraphs of the Book of Discipline adapted to our context, the Episcopal and Laity addresses, the minutes of the Central Conference and a directory. To some extent, our supplement uses the same principles as the ones guiding the work on a general Book of Discipline which the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters is about to elaborate. 

Wonder, Love and Praise 

A theological document entitled “Wonder, Love and Praise” has been sent to the church for study in this quadrennium. The document is available online, and a study process will be developed in each annual conference.

Finances.

 

The Central Conference is on a tight budget for the coming quadrennium, however, we have budgeted for a full council meeting every year as well as for one annual meeting of the area groups.
The 2016 fiscal year is in balance.

The Central Conference is on a tight budget for the coming quadrennium, however, we have budgeted for a full council meeting every year as well as for one annual meeting of the area groups.
The 2016 fiscal year is in balance.

 

Europe

We are building stronger relations between the Methodist churches in Europe, and in this process, the European Methodist Council has a key role. We have much to learn from each other as we share many of the same challenges. In this quadrennium, we have had two joint meetings with the European Commission on Mission ECOM, where we have discussed the mission document from the World Council of Churches and at the latest joint meeting in the fall of 2016 the challenges and opportunities the new refugee and migrant situation present to us.
At the Central Conference, an agreement between the Methodist, Wesleyan and Uniting churches in Europe was approved. This agreement of full communion will formalize and regulate our relationship on a European level and make it easier to transfer members and clergy between the different denominations in Europe.

Changes at the Copenhagen Office 

In May 2016, Lilli Uth retired after 7 years as my administrative assistant. We are deeply thankful for Lilli’s dedicated, perceptive and highly competent ministry. The Central Conference Council owes her a depth of gratitude, which has been expressed at a reception at the episcopal office. 

Kirsten Hastrup assumed the position as administrative assistant last year. With her excellent administrative and language skills, she has proved to be an asset to the office and to the Central Conference. 


Thank you

Thank you 

Thank you to the members of the central conference council who have served in the past quadrennium and done a competent and committed work in leading the ministry of the Central Conference and developing our connection. May the loving and transforming God through the Holy Spirit bless us and give us strength to continue our journey of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the sake of the world. 

The Central Conference Council 

Bishop Eduard Khegay and Bishop Christian Alsted

1 Full communion describes the relationship between two or more Christian churches that (1) recognize in each other the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic faith as expressed in the Holy Scriptures and confessed in the church’s historic creeds; (2) recognize the authenticity of each other’s baptism and Eucharist and extend sacramental hospitality to each other’s members. (3) recognize the validity of their respective ministries (4) recognize the full interchangeability and reciprocity of all ordained ministers in each of the churches. That relationship commits the churches to working together as partners in mission toward fuller visible unity. A relationship of full communion does not mean there are no differences or distinctions between the churches but does mean that these differences are not church dividing. BoD ¶431 

Generalkonference 2016

Metodistkirkens konstitution

Konstitutionen er Metodistkirkens grundlov. Det er de korte samling vedtægter, som hele Kirkeordningen er bygget på. Konstitutionen siger ganske kort og i overordnede formuleringer, hvad Metodistkirken er og hvilke grundlæggende principper, kirken følger. Hovedvægten er lagt på kirkens organisatoriske struktur og beslutningsprocesser. Der er beskrivelse af alle besluttende konferencer fra Generalkonference og Centralkonference til Årskonference og Pastoratskonference, samt disse konferencers myndighed og begrænsninger. Årskonferencen er den grundlæggende og vigtigste enhed i kirken. Konstitutionen fastlægger desuden biskoppernes og kirkerettens funktion. Fordi Konstitutionen er kirkens grundlov, er det kun Årskonferencerne, der kan beslutte ændringer. Når Generalkonferencen bliver enig om at foreslå ændringer i konstitutionen, sendes ændringsforslag ud til alle Årskonferencer i hele verden, og først når alle Årskonferencer har stemt om ændringsforslagene og der er opnået flertal for ændringerne, er ændringerne gældende. Det er biskopsrådet, som indsamler afstemningsresultaterne og konstaterer, at ændringer af konstitutionen er et faktum. 

I 2013 skal alle verdens Årskonferencer stemme om nogle ændringsforslag, som Generalkonferencen i 2012 har foreslået. Herunder følger begrundelserne for ændringerne samt ændringsforslaget (på engelsk) 

 

The United Methodist Church

Proposed Constitutional Amendment – I 

On May 16, 2016, at a session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church held in Portland, Oregon, the following Constitutional Amendment was adopted by a recorded vote of 746 Yes, 56 No (Calendar Item 121, DCA p. 2106). It is now presented to the Annual Conferences for vote. 

In the 2012 Book of Discipline, Division One, add a new paragraph between current ¶¶ 5 and 6: 

As the Holy Scripture reveals, both men and women are made in the image of God and, therefore, men and women are of equal value in the eyes of God. The United Methodist Church recognizes it is contrary to Scripture and to logic to say that God is male or female, as maleness and femaleness are characteristics of human bodies and cultures, not characteristics of the divine. The United Methodist Church acknowledges the long history of discrimination against women and girls. The United Methodist Church shall confront and seek to eliminate discrimination against women and girls, whether in organizations or in individuals, in every facet of its life and in society at large. The United Methodist Church shall work collaboratively with others to address concerns that threaten the cause of women’s and girl's equality and well-being. 

If voted and so declared by the Council of Bishops, this would become the new ¶6, and the current ¶¶ 6-61 would be renumbered as ¶¶ 7-62. 


Proposed Constitutional Amendment – II

AND

Proposed Constitutional Amendment – II 

On May 20, 2016, at a session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church held in Portland, Oregon, the following Constitutional Amendment was adopted by a recorded vote of 509 Yes, 242 No (Calendar Item 429, DCA p. 2212). It is now presented to the Annual Conferences for vote. 

In the 2012 Book of Discipline, Division One, ¶4, Article IV, amend by deletion and addition as follows: 

After “all persons” delete “without regard to race, color, national origin, status, or economic condition”. After “because of race, color, national origin,” delete “status,” and add “ability”. At the end of the paragraph, add “nor shall any member be denied access to an equal place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church because of race, color, gender, national origin, ability, age, marital status, or economic condition.” 

If voted and so declared by the Council of Bishops, ¶ 4 would read: 

The United Methodist Church is part of the church universal, which is one Body in Christ. The United Methodist Church acknowledges that all persons are of sacred worth. All persons shall be eligible to attend its worship services, participate in its programs, receive the sacraments, upon baptism be admitted as baptized members, and upon taking vows declaring the Christian faith, become professing members in any local church in the connection. In the United Methodist church, no conference or other organizational unit of the Church shall be structured so as to exclude any member or any constituent body of the Church because of race, color, national origin, ability, or economic condition, nor shall any member be denied access to an equal place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church because of race, color, gender, national origin, ability, age, marital status, or economic condition.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment – III 

On May 16, 2016, at a session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church held in Portland, Oregon, the following Constitutional Amendment was adopted by a recorded vote of 767 Yes, 22 No (Calendar Item 111, DCA pp. 2105). It is now presented to the Annual Conferences for vote. 

In the 2012 Book of Discipline, Division Two, Section VI, ¶ 34, Article III, (2016 Book of Discipline, Division Two, Section VI, ¶ 34, Article III) amend by addition as follows: 

After the first sentence, add, “Such elections shall include open nominations from the floor by the annual conference, and delegates shall be elected by a minimum of a simple majority of the ballots cast.” 

If voted and so declared by the Council of Bishops, ¶ 34 would read: 

The annual conference shall elect clergy and lay delegates to the General Conference and to its jurisdictional or central conference in the manner provided in this section, Articles IV and V. Such elections shall include open nominations from the floor by the annual conference, and delegates shall be elected by a minimum of a simple majority of the ballots cast. The persons first elected up to the number determined by the ratio for representation in the General Conference shall be representatives in that body. Additional delegates shall be elected to complete the number determined by the ratio for representation in the jurisdictional or central conference, who, together with those first elected as above, shall be delegates in the jurisdictional or central conference. The additional delegates to the jurisdictional or central conference shall in the order of their election be the reserve delegates to the General Conference. The annual conference shall also elect reserve clergy and lay delegates to the jurisdictional or central conference as it may deem desirable. These reserve clergy and lay delegates to the jurisdictional or central conferences may act as reserve delegates to the General Conference when it is evident that not enough reserve delegates are in attendance at the General Conference.

AND

Proposed Constitutional Amendment – IV 

On May 20, 2016, at a session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church held in Portland, Oregon, the following Constitutional Amendment was adopted by a recorded vote of 621 Yes, 15 No (Calendar Item 468, DCA p. 2217). It is now presented to the Annual Conferences for vote. 

In the 2012 Book of Discipline, Division Three, ¶ 46, Article I, amend by addition, as follows: 

To the end of the paragraph, add “provided that episcopal elections in central conferences shall be held at a regular, not an extra, session of the central conference, except in the case where an unexpected vacancy must be filled.” 

If voted and so declared by the Council of Bishops, ¶ 46 would read: 

The bishops shall be elected by the respective jurisdictional and central conferences and consecrated in the historic manner at such time and place as may be fixed by the General Conference for those elected by the jurisdictions and by each central conference for those elected by such central conference, provided that episcopal elections in central conferences shall be held at a regular, not an extra, session of the central conference, except in the case where an unexpected vacancy must be filled. 

AND

Proposed Constitutional Amendment – V 

On May 17, 2016, at a session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church held in Portland, Oregon, the following Constitutional Amendment was adopted by a recorded vote of 715 Yes, 79 No (Calendar Item 446, DCA p. 2214). It is now presented to the Annual Conferences for vote. 

In the 2012 Book of Discipline, Division Three, ¶ 50, Article VI, amend by addition, as follows: 

After the last paragraph, add “These provisions shall not preclude that adoption by the General Conference of provisions for the Council of Bishops to hold its individual members accountable for their work, both as general superintendents and as presidents and residents in episcopal areas.” 

If voted and so declared by the Council of Bishops, ¶ 50 would read: 

The bishops, both active and retired, of The Evangelical United Brethren Church and of The Methodist Church at the time union is consummated shall be bishops of The United Methodist Church. 

The bishops of The Methodist Church elected by the jurisdictions, the active bishops of The Evangelical United Brethren Church at the time of union, and bishops elected by the jurisdictions of The United Methodist Church shall have life tenure. Each bishop elected by a central conference of The Methodist Church shall have such tenure as the central conference electing him shall have determined.94 

The jurisdictional conference shall elect a standing committee on episcopacy to consist of one clergy and one lay delegate from each annual conference, on nomination of the annual conference delegation. The committee shall review the work of the bishops, pass on their character and official administration, and report to the jurisdictional conference its findings for such action as the conference may deem appropriate within its constitutional warrant of power. The committee shall recommend the assignments of the bishops to their respective residences for final action by the jurisdictional conference. 

These provisions shall not preclude that adoption by the General Conference of provisions for the Council of Bishops to hold its individual members accountable for their work, both as general superintendents and as presidents and residents in episcopal areas.

Resolutioner

4.2.2 Resolutions 

4.2.2.1 Greeting to the Council of Bishops from Northern Europe and Eurasia Central Conference 

Whereas at General Conference in Portland 2016, the Council of Bishops were asked to lead our church through discussions of how our church shall continue together, united as one church, even though we are of different minds when it comes to questions regarding human sexuality and the Book of Discipline. 

Whereas The Council of Bishops presented “An Offering for a Way Forward”, which was accepted by the General Conference, where it was said that they will form a new commission, who will work on the single issue of human sexuality for the next couple of years. 

Whereas The General Conference urged supported the statement from The Council of Bishops that included the wish to ”live in grace with one another – including ways to avoid further complaints, trials and harm while we uphold the Discipline.” 

Therefore, be it resolved that the Northern Europe and Eurasia Central Conference sends the following greeting to the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church: 

We, the Northern Europe and Eurasia Central Conference, greet you in the name of the risen Lord. 

We would like to extend our thanks and gratitude for your leadership for us both at the General Conference in Portland, in the daily lives of our church, and Especially for “A way forward”. This is a powerful statement, and we stand behind you in the difficult times ahead for our church. 

In the aftermath of General Conference, we are saddened see that our church still is divided in questions regarding to human sexuality, and that steps that further the divisions in our church have been taken at several Jurisdictional Conferences in the United States. We will hold you, the Council of Bishops and the new commission, in our prayers. 

Nonetheless, it is with hope, eagerness and expectation we look forward to see the results this new “Commission on Human Sexuality” will present for the next General Conference. We believe that anything is possible through Christian Conferencing and works of the Holy Spirit. 

In addition, we would like to encourage all United Methodists in our denomination to show respect for the process you, The Council of Bishops, has laid before us, and whom the majority of the General Conference has approved on our behalf. 

Submitted by:
Audun Westad, Norway Annual Conference
Andreas Elfving, Finland- Swedish provisional Annual Conference Jan-Markus Jeromaa, Finland-Finnish provisional Annual Conference Frøydis Grinna, Norway Annual Conference
Leif-Göte Björlund, Finland-Swedish provisional Annual Conference Taavi Hollman, Estonia Annual Conference
Tarmo Lilleoja, Estonia Annual Conference
Sami Lind, Finland-Finnish provisional Annual Conference
Per-Endre Bjørnevik, Norway Annual Conference 


4.2.2.3 Resolution on Climate change 

The natural world is a loving gift from God, the creator and sustainer, who has entrusted it to us for his glory and to the good of all life on earth now and in generations to come. The image of God in us (Gen.1:27) is reflected in our abilities, responsibilities and integrity, and in the power of the Holy Spirit we are called as God’s co-workers in dialogue and covenant with Him to live and serve for the good of creation. 

We confess that we have turned our backs on our responsibilities in neglect, selfishness and pride. And yet Christ’s redeeming and restoring work through His death and resurrection continues in face of death and devastation embracing all of creation. We have learned that God’s vision for His world is of peace and not disaster offering us a future filled with hope. (Jer. 29:11 CEB) This vision has a present and a future in the promise of a new heaven and a new earth. (Rev. 21:1-8 CEB) 

Human induced climate change is a widely recognized fact caused by the emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses, for which the strong economies of this world carry the vast responsibility. 

The average temperature of the globe by the end of the 21st century is estimated to have increased by 4 degrees Celsius which will result in sea level rise, shrinking glaciers, extreme weather, droughts, flooding which will dramatically affect the sustainability of human life in many areas of the world. 

The current development is threatening the lives and livelihoods of many, particularly in the poor and vulnerable countries and regions on the globe and is estimated to put 20 percent more people at risk of hunger by 2050 due to the changing climate. (according to the World Food Program of the UN) 

The sustainability of life today and in the future presupposes the sustainability of the world we have inherited and will pass on to the new generations, and as this sustainability is seriously threatened, so is the future of our children, youth and coming generations. 

Climate change produced by humans presents an even deeper ethical and spiritual issue than simply caring for God’s creation. We are challenged with a divine prophetic calling to counter social and ecological needs and injustice, realizing that we cannot help the world and ask others to change their ways until we change our own ways of living. 

Therefore, be it resolved that as a Central Conference 

We call on members, local churches, institutions and agencies to make a purposeful effort to learn about human production and release of greenhouse gasses to evaluate their lifestyle and to identify areas where reduction in production and emission of greenhouse gasses can be made such as the use of better insulation, heating, electricity, cars, air-travel and more.
 

We ask pastors and lay-speakers to preach and teach on the care for God’s creation as part of our discipleship.
 

We strongly encourage that when designing new church buildings and facilities or when making major re-constructions every effort should be made to make the building energy neutral through the use of solar panels, wind energy, geothermal heating, heat pumps, better insulation or other relevant means and technologies.
 

We call on local churches, institutions, boards, committees and annual conferences to make every effort to significantly reduce air travelling and seriously and purposefully explore alternative means of conducting meetings and consultations through the use of communication technology, and when possible use energy and CO2 efficient means of travel like trains and busses. 

We call on members and local churches to make attempts to educate others outside their church community on the need to take action on these issues and to partner with others who are of the same mind. 

Be it further resolved 

That we call on our parliaments and governments to require reductions in greenhouse emissions using the most efficient and cost-effective means. 

Christian Alsted 

4.2.2.4 Resolution on Migration – I was a Stranger 

The history of Methodism in continental Europe is strongly linked to the great transatlantic migration several generations ago. In our history, we count people fleeing from poverty and conflicts, people with wounds on soul and body after fighting as ethnic and religious minorities. We count people who know what it means to cross cultural boundaries and who have the knowledge of integration and fellow citizenship, both as the newcomer and as the one who can welcome another human being. 

Once again, migration is a challenge for the European nations. The recent migration is a result of war in Syria and its neighbouring countries and conflicts in other areas of Africa and Asia. Several of the areas from where people flee are areas where European nations are militarily involved. Poverty and bad living conditions in the homeland are other reasons why people flee from life-threatening situations. 

Most refugees and migrants are refugees and migrants in their own country or in neighbouring countries (Internally Displaced Persons). Only a small portion of the total number of refugees and migrants are so desperate that they cross several boarders and find their ways to European countries. However, the numbers are large enough to challenge the European people. We have seen how governments and politicians in most European countries are more focused on limiting the number of refugees or even on finding the best way to return the newcomers, instead of focusing on a way to help as many as possible. The European countries and the upcoming extreme political voices have been passionate advocates for strong protection of our own welfare and fortune by building high boundaries against newcomers. Furthermore, they disrespect laws about human rights and residency and build up inhuman systems of not taking care of the newcomers. 

The United Methodist Churches in Northern, Baltic and Eurasian countries do not agree with the hostile policy against refugees and migrants who come to your countries. We find this policy non compatible with the judgment of Christ Jesus of the Nations when he says: “I was a stranger and you did not welcome me.” And all recent political decisions of self-protection and explanations of not doing what we have resources to do echo the question of bad excuses: “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” In our appeal against the hostile attitude of both politicians and groups of people in our countries we lift up the judgement of Christ Jesus when he ends his appeal to us: “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” 

Instead of focusing the challenges for the European countries on coping with the numbers of newcomers in our countries and the challenge of integration, we will focus on the positive opportunities to build up multi-cultural societies, citizen- and fellow-ship within our countries. We should do as the Bible constantly empowers us to do and open our doors to strangers: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Especially our attention is to people of culture, ethnicity and religion different from us. 

The Central Conference of the United Methodist Church in Northern and Baltic Europe and in Eurasia, gathered in Fredrikstad, Norway, October 19-23, 2016, have discussed and shared information about the current situation of migration in Europe. We are concerned about the human crises for the thousands of people fleeing from their homes and roots. It is like the punishment of Cain, who was driven from his home in fear: “I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meets me may kill me.” 


The Central Conference appeal to our churches in the European Countries: 

- to speak against the hostile policy of inhuman restrictions of refugees and migration in our countries, 

- to be an advocate for the refugees and migrants in our countries and help them to integrate and participate in the social life, 

- to empower the local churches to open the doors for newcomers in the neighbourhood of the church and establish a kind of activities that make the Methodist church a local meeting place for newcomers and newcomers and native people, 

- to empower our children and youth work to invite newcomers in the neighbourhood of the church to participate in activities free of charge, 

- to commit the local Methodist churches to have at least one annual worship service dealing with the migration theme, 

- to help the local Methodist churches to see that the situation of migration probably will be a permanent order of the world caused by the many conflicts and terror actions in the world, and caused by the breakdown of the balance of nature in the shadow of increasing climate changes. 

- to help the local Methodist churches to see the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi- linguistic congregation as a fortune and possibility and not as a burden or limitation. 

Jørgen Thaarup