Friday, November 10, 2017

Deacon Rev Linda Vogel

Deacon Rev. Linda Vogel (United Methodist Church) died this week after contracting cancer. Victoria Rebeck spoke of her influential and prophetic voice in Christian discipleship formation and asked for prayers for her husband, Dwight Vogel, and others who grieve the loss of her physical presence with us.

Linda and Dwight have contributed a great deal to the understanding of the role of Deacons and Elders in the United Methodist Church. This paper is one of their very helpful contributions on 'Deacons as Sacraments of the Table' in the context of UMC, but which has relevance to many other church traditions. From afar, I have valued Linda's insightful reflections on diaconal ministry.

Deacons as Sacraments of the Table
Dwight W. and Linda J. Vogel
The role of the deacon in the United Methodist Church today is related to three tables that are central to the experience of the New Testament church: the table of service, the table of justice, and the table of grace. All three tables are sacramental in nature and deacons are themselves sacraments of service, justice and grace.

Fijian Methodists call for prayers for COP23

Climate change is impacting significantly on the island nations in the Pacific. Fiji has taken on the role of Presidency of the Conference of Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and has asked for prayers. 

Fijian Methodists call for prayers for COP23 (source: WCC)

As the world convenes in Bonn, Germany for the 23rd Conference of Parties (COP23) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Methodist Church in Fiji issued a statement calling for Methodists around the world to join in prayer for the country’s leadership and for the talanoa process of negotiations which will take place over the next two weeks.

Talanoa, meaning storytelling and dialogue, is a continuing process of building relationships and understanding and presenting outcomes to date. At COP23, this methodology is being used to address Fiji’s calls for climate justice.

The statement released on 2 November appeals for prayers “for States to take bold action to rapidly reduce emissions, in line with the 1.5°C goal, for an effective facilitative dialogue that could speed the advance to low-carbon economies and for increased and innovative public and private finance to enable achievement of the 1.5C target”.

Expressing support to the government of Fiji as the country assumes the presidency of the COP, the statement also calls upon the nations of the world to stand with Fiji as it amplifies the voices of vulnerable Pacific small island states and coastal cities and to endorse the COP23 Multifaith Charter prepared by the faith communities of Fiji in partnership with the COP23 Presidency Secretariat.

“As the nations…gather for COP23 under the presidency of Fiji, it is our common hope and constant prayer, as people of faith, that the reflections and discernment and life- affirming responses of such spirituality remain as critically important as scientific and political conversations in the decision-making processes during COP23”.

The Methodist Church in Fiji is represented at COP23 by Rev. James Bhagwan, who has been involved in faith and climate change work for the last decade and is part of the World Council of Churches delegation.