The Methodist Liaison Office in Jerusalem is a partnership of the World Methodist Council, the Methodist Church of Great Britain and the United Methodist Church. Its purpose is to increase international awareness and involvement of the Methodist community in the issues affecting Israel and Palestine.
Our office is located at Tantur Ecumenical Institute located close to Checkpoint 300, the main entry point to Bethlehem from Jerusalem.
Our role here is to be a presence on behalf of World Methodism in the Holy Land. This involves:
- Working ecumenically with churches, community organizations, and individuals seeking to provide support especially to disadvantaged situations.
- Welcoming Methodist Pilgrimage Groups from across the world, but especially from the USA and UK as the present staff of the office come from those countries. Often we will speak to the groups about the context within which their pilgrimage takes place.
- Supporting and enabling volunteers who have the opportunity to work in projects and meet local people.
- Being associate ministers at St Andrew’s Church of Scotland, Jerusalem. – – Engaging in advocacy – especially writing about life here in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
What is Methodism?
Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity made up of a number of denominations. The movement traces its roots back to founder John Wesley, an Anglican preacher. Charles Wesley, John’s brother, and George Whitefield were also significant leaders in the movement. The Wesley brothers founded the Holy Club while studying at Oxford. The club met weekly to systematically set about living a holy life. Other students branded them “methodists” because of the way they methodically ordered their lives. The Methodist movement was mostly Arminian in their theological outlook, however George Whitefield and several others were considered Calvinistic Methodists.
What is the World Methodist Council?
The World Methodist Council is a worldwide association of 80 Methodist, Wesleyan and related Uniting and United Churches representing over 80.5 million people. It engages, empowers and serves the member Churches by encouraging Methodist unity in witness, facilitating mission in the world, and fostering ecumenical and inter-religious activities. It promotes obedience to the Great Commandment of Jesus Christ to love God and neighbor and to fulfill the Great Commission to make disciples through vibrant evangelism, a prophetic voice, cooperative programs, faithful worship and mutual learning.
In Continuity with the Universal Church
Churches in the Methodist tradition stand within the continuity of the one universal Church, confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, worshipping the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, preaching the one gospel, and accepting the authority of the holy scriptures, and the creeds of the early church.
History of the World Methodist Council
The World Methodist Council finds its origins in a conference held in London, England at Wesley’s Chapel in 1881 where some 400 delegates from 30 Methodist bodies around the world gathered in an Ecumenical Methodist Conference. Thereafter, World Methodist conferences were held every ten years until 1931. In 1931 a decision was made to organize a Council – a new agency to express the common ideals and objectives of worldwide Methodism. Due to World War II, the Conference would not meet again until 1947 and the organization plans were delayed. At the 1951 Conference, two decisions were taken to ensure the stability of the conferences: 1) that the name be changed to the World Methodist Council; 2) that the Council should meet at five-year intervals. In 1956, the World Methodist Council established a permanent headquarters in the United States at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. The meetings of the Ecumenical Methodist Conference and, after 1951, of the World Methodist Council have been:
1881 – London, England 1891 – Washington, DC, USA
1901 – London, England 1911 – Toronto, Canada
1921 – London, England 1931 – Atlanta, USA
1947 – Springfield, Mass., USA 1951 – Oxford, England
1956 – Lake Junaluska, USA 1961 – Oslo, Norway
1966 – London, England 1971 – Denver, USA
1976 – Dublin, Ireland 1981 – Honolulu, USA
1986 – Nairobi, Kenya 1991 – Singapore, Singapore
1996 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2001 – Brighton, England
2006 – Seoul, South Korea 2011 – Durban, South Africa
The World Methodist Council is composed of between 250 to 528 delegates elected from its member churches. From 2001 onward, the Council has averaged at 400 members. Representation is determined by Church membership and financial contribution to the work of the Council. The Council President and the General Secretary are the principal officers of the Council. In the interim of its meetings, the World Methodist Council is governed by a Steering Committee representative of its constituent Churches composed of Elected Officers, Standing Committee Chairs, non-voting Staff and representatives of affiliated organizations.
The calling of the Methodist Church is to respond to the gospel of God’s love in Christ and to live out its discipleship in worship and mission. It does this through:
The Church exists to increase awareness of God’s presence and to celebrate God’s loveWORSHIP
- What helps us to centre our worship on God?
- Where and when do we feel the presence of God? How can these experiences enrich services of worship?
- What motivates us to study the Bible?
- What helps us to express awe and wonder, thankfulness and praise, and love towards God? How can we use resources from the worldwide Church?
- What would help our worship to make sense to people who come only occasionally?
- Can we improve the comfort and decor of our surroundings and the welcome for people with disabilities?
- Is our worship much the same all the time? Should we explore styles and traditions of worship from other denominations and other parts of the world?
What are our plans and targets for improving our worship over the next year?
LEARNING & CARING
The Church exists to help people to grow and learn as Christians, through mutual support and care
- What church activities help us most to deepen our faith in God?
- How effective are our small groups, in linking faith to everyday life?
- How do we learn about the challenges of Christian life today from churches elsewhere in Britain and the wider world?
- Are there peripheral activities we should stop, to make time for our training and learning needs?
- What activities make it easy for others to join us? What links do we have with groups using our premises?
- What do we expect from our pastors? What do we expect from one another by way of support and care? Do we notice or care about those who drift away or leave?
What are our plans and targets for developing our life together over the next year?
The Church exists to be a good neighbour to people in need and to challenge injustice
- How do we discover the needs in our community and respond to them?
- Who is involved in service to the community through charities or community groups? Are there opportunities for more of us to become involved? How do we give attention to the moral issues raised by daily work?
- Do we share with one another our concerns about things which do not seem right, or cause trouble in our community, or appear unjust? How do we challenge injustice in other parts of the world?
- Are we making the best use of our premises and our money for service to the community? Are we wasting resources? Are we spending our time and resources in ways which are consistent with our beliefs and values?
- How does the life of our community, and our involvement in it, feature in the prayers of the church?
What are our plans and targets for improving our community involvement over the next year?
The Church exists to make more followers of Jesus Christ
- How do we develop friendly attitudes towards everyone we meet?
- Do we have a clear message? Are the words we use straightforward and meaningful to those outside the Church?
- What attracts others to the Christian faith? Are there initiatives we could take to present our convictions? Can we do this with Christians of other denominations? Where should the focus be – on church premises, or in the community?
- How can we learn about effective witness from Christians in other cultures?
- What can we do to make our premises more welcoming?
- Should we consider planting a new congregation in this locality?
The people of The United Methodist Church are part of the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States. Our worldwide connection includes approximately 12.8 million members.
The United Methodist Church was formed when the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged in 1968. But we trace our heritage back to the movement begun in 1729 in England by John and Charles Wesley. Find out more about our history.
Below, you will find a brief list of some of the distinctive characteristics of our denomination. The United Methodist Church is:
- Global: Today we speak many languages and live in many countries—with different cultures, ethnic traditions, national histories and understandings of Christian faith and practice.
- Connectional: Every United Methodist congregation is interconnected throughout the denomination via a unique, interlocking chain of conferences. The United Methodist Church practices representative democracy in its governance. Conferences elect delegates who are authorized to act and vote. Learn more about our structure.
- Inclusive: All persons are welcome to attend our churches and receive Holy Communion, and are eligible to be baptized and become members.
- Grounded in Scripture: United Methodist trust free inquiry in matters of Christian doctrine. Our faith is guided by Scripture, tradition, experience and reason. Of paramount importance, however, is Scripture as the witness of God’s creating, redeeming and sustaining relationship with God’s people. Learn more about our basic beliefs.
- Wesleyan: The United Methodist Church has a Wesleyan heritage, and as such, places an emphasis on mind and heart (knowledge and vital piety) and putting faith and love into practice (life). Find out more about our Wesleyan heritage.
- Concerned about social justice: For more than 200 years, The United Methodist Church and its predecessor bodies have expressed concern for God’s children everywhere — the poor, the orphaned, the aging, the sick, the oppressed and the imprisoned. Learn more about our mission and ministry.
- Mission-oriented: Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. In uncomplicated terms, this means we strive to nurture followers of Christ who then reach out and teach others about the love of Jesus. Find out about our mission around the world.
- Ecumenical: United Methodists consider dialogue and missional cooperation between United Methodists and other Christians as a valid witness to the unity of the body of Christ.
Learn about our ecumenical and interreligious relationships.