Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, of the United Methodist Church in Germany, and Bishop Bruce Ough, of the Minnesota-Dakotas area, have each written letters about the recent U.S. presidential election. Wenner, a former president of the Council of Bishops sent her letter to the current to Ough, the current Council president, Bishop Marcus Matthews, Executive Secretary of the Council, and the entire Council.
Dear Bishop Ough, dear Bishop Matthews, dear colleague bishops:
Grace and Peace in Jesus' name.
The presidential election in the United States has been monitored here in Germany like never before. Although people have been concerned about the deep divisions that became worse during an ugly campaign, we were hoping for a success of Hilary Clinton. Now that Donald Trump was elected I receive questions from within and outside The UMC. People know that we belong together in a worldwide church. In a spirit of openness I would like to share my responses with you:
It is one of the main principles in a democracy that we accept the results of elections whether we like them or not. We as bishops have signed a bible for the new President of the United States of America. We will offer it to President elect Donald Trump and we will insure him of the prayers of all United Methodist people and of our constructive and critical support as he is preparing himself to lead one of the most powerful nations in the world.
People who enter the political arena by promising easy answers to complex problems and nationalistic movements gain attraction all over the world. Christians believe in a God of all the nations. We as United Methodists are one church composed by people of about 60 nations and even more ethnic groups. We know how difficult it is to maintain unity. And yet we are convinced that we have to find ways to live together in our global village. The communities where our congregations are located are the first places to reach out to the other and the stranger in order to work for peace. I am grateful for the many United Methodist congregations in the USA led by my colleagues ready to make a difference in a time such as this. And we United Methodists in the various Central Conferences are also called to serve as difference makers.
We as United Methodists are strongly committed to live according to the Gospel. In the Wesleyan spirit we are called to spread out Holiness including Social Holiness. We live with our Social Principals and are therefore we will stand up against racism and xenophobia, we will work with others to protect human rights for all, especially for immigrants and refugees and we are convinced that religious freedom is a vital expression of democracy.
Today is November 9. In Germany we remember the burning synagogues in the year 1938 at the so called "Kristallnacht" as well as the opening of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The Moravian Text for today reads: "When your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness." (Isaiah 26:9).
May we as United Methodists continue to learn righteousness and work for reconciliation and peace. Together with the people in my area I am praying for healing in the USA and elsewhere in the world.
Bishop Rosemarie Wenner
United Methodist Church
Dear President-elect Trump:
On behalf of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church, I offer congratulations to you, Mr. Trump, upon your election as the 45th president of the United States. Further, I thank Secretary Hillary Clinton for the gracious way she has accepted the voters’ decision.
The Council’s prayers are for you, your wife, Melania, and your family, and for Secretary Clinton, her husband, Bill, and their family, after such a tightly contested presidential race.
We are a deeply divided nation in a world community marred by division, war and unprecedented forced migration. This is a time for all Americans, particularly our political leaders, to put aside divisiveness and rancor and come together for the common good of this nation and the world. Thus, we pray for the healing of the nations and for God to grant you wisdom, compassion, moral conviction, courage and protection in your presidential leadership.
The Council of Bishops pledges to contribute to all efforts to build bridges to understanding that will lead to overcoming the gulfs that divide the nation and the world. I call to mind the best that is in us: we live under God; we are indivisible; and liberty and justice extend to all.
In 1789, Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury presented President George Washington with a Bible. The United Methodist Church has maintained this 225-plus-years tradition of giving a Bible signed by the bishops to each subsequent U.S. president.
The Council of Bishops is composed of 68 active and 97 retired bishops overseeing The United Methodist Church’s 12.3 million members in the United States, Africa, Europe, and the Philippines. Mr. Trump, I look forward to an opportunity, following your inauguration, to present a Bible to you.
And so, I pray for you and our nation:
Holy God, creator of us all,
Send your Spirit of peace, justice and freedom upon us;
Break down the walls of political partisanship and economic disparity,
and make us one.
Give us wisdom to walk in your ways.
Remind us that your ways are not our ways;
That your power and might transcend the plans of every nation.
Teach us again to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.
The Peace of the Lord,
Bishop Bruce R. Ough, President
On behalf of the Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church