Rev. Dr. Harold Good, former president of the Methodist Church in Ireland and recipient of the World Methodist Peace Prize and co-recipient of the Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award, delivered his message of unity Friday afternoon.
Dr. Good sprinkled his message with humor and warmth that left the audience wanting more of his time and his wisdom. His experience in resolving conflict in Northern Ireland prepares him well to walk the church through this period of divisiveness within the United Methodist Church.
He reflected that Jesus told many stories of “Oneness” and the sin of exclusion.
The early church struggled with the issue of “who’s in and who’s out” just as we are today. God in a dream warned Peter not to call anything unclean that He had made. The message is God makes the call of “who’s in and who’s out.”
Mr. Wesley was deeply committed to hold the church together. He wanted renewal not separation. The Wesleyan connexion is about “Oneness.” Mr. Wesley made it clear in “Catholic Spirit” that he didn’t expect others to think like him but at least we can love the same.
Today, we are faced with how to deal with fear of terrorism and identification with Islam and be neighbors, friends and family to our Muslim brothers and sisters. How do we deal with the Book of Discipline’s statement on homosexuality and be neighbors, friends and family to our LGBTQ brothers and sisters?
Dr. Good shared his joy at inviting ALL to the Methodist communion table and implored the audience to cherish the gift of ALL that is so a part of our Wesleyan tradition. He questioned, “What do we have to offer the broken world?”
There are three restorative words that are especially Methodist:
This is what we have to offer the world. The world needs confession, grace and forgiveness and so does our Church.