Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29)
This article can do not more than highlight a couple of the more important influences that led to the dynamic creation that the Methodist movement was at its inception, but it may help us to realise that our roots are deep, and owe much to many traditions.
1. The Mystics
Anglican Unitary Societies
MARY, MARTHA AND LAZARUS AT WORK IN BRAZIL
A model used for mission and evangelism in Brazil is exemplified by one of the best-known families in the New Testament - the family of Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus - according to Nicanor Lopes from the Methodist School of Theology in Sao Paulo. This model I have affectionately called 'Toblerone Evangelism' because visually the model used is a triangle.
I walked out of the darkened seminar room and blinked in the sunlight. It was sometime in the autumn of 2001 and I was at the Christian Resources Exhibition at the NEC. I’d just been to a seminar by someone called Phil Potter about something called 'cell church'. Now I’d heard of cell church before, but it hadn’t really registered and I’d half dismissed it as just another fad. But after listening to Phil Potter for 50 minutes I was interested, but also confused.
Consider what your life might be like if you lived in a country such as Chad, Africa. You speak a minority language. People in the villages and towns twenty miles from you speak other languages, which you are not able to understand. There is absolutely nothing written in your language - no newspapers, no magazines, no pamphlets, no books - and no Bible.
During February and March 2002 I had the unique opportunity with two other Cliff College students of a placement at the Princess Basma Centre for Disabled Children on the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem. Walking through the streets of Jerusalem that first afternoon left me sad and disappointed. Endless mounds of rubble, heaps of stinking rubbish and poor housing made my heart sink. Yet as I looked out across the hills, and thought of this as the place where Jesus walked, I remembered the humanity and suffering of Jesus.
We stepped off the plane and into burning 80 degree Israeli heat - a far cry from the English summer behind us. A transit bus from our friendly BA 747 to the terminal and then the waiting in queues began. Finally at passport control with my bag already circling in the luggage pickup area, security asked the new question even I wasn't ready for: 'Are you here to work for the Arabs?'
One of the keys to ecumenical developments over the last century has been mission imperatives driven by situations around the world where it is clear that the dissemination of European and American denominations has been, at the least, unhelpful in the development of vigorous, indigenous Churches. Since Henry Venn there have been Christians who called for the planting of self-supporting, self-governing and self-propagating churches.
I am a traditional Methodist, of a family devoted to Methodism almost since the days of Wesley. I gave my heart to Christ in 1925, preached my first sermon in 1927, first appeared on the Plan as a Probationer in 1931, and in old age am not discouraged, filled with joy and peace in believing. I would not have been anything other than a Methodist. However, I have learned by long and happy experience to love the Church of England.