Jueves 28 de septiembre del 2006 | Correio-e: firstname.lastname@example.org |Editora: Claudia Florentin
BRAZIL - Internet users take a stand on Methodist decision
PORTO ALEGRE, 20 September (ALC) ? The John Wesley Theological Institute, located in Porto Alegre, has opened a forum of consultation for the pastors and leaders from the 2nd Ecclesiastic Region, which includes the state of Rio Grande do Sul, concerning the decision by the General Council of the Methodist Church to pull out from ecumenical organisations that include the Roman Catholic Church and other non-Christian groups.
The result of the consultation, which is to end on Wednesday September 27, will be used by the regional administration and the state delegation elected to represent the 2nd Ecclesiastic Region in the second meeting of the 18th General Council, which will be held at the Methodist University of São Paulo on 12-15 October. The decision to leave the ecumenical organisations is expected to be taken up again.
If the inquiries held in the Methodist Online website or the comments found in the blog "Methodists and Ecumenism" are any indication, last July's decision of the General Council in Aracruz would have been different. The homepage asked whether the internet users approved of the Methodist Church's decision to leave the ecumenical bodies. Of the 2,695 votes counted until yesterday morning, 61.71% did not approve of the decision, 37.85 were in favor of it and 0.45% claimed to be indifferent to the decision.
The blog asked its readers if they would like the decision by the General Council regarding ecumenism to be reviewed. From a total of 166 answers, 72.28% were in favor of a review, while 27.71% were not.
While commenting on the dwindling number of members of the Methodist Church in the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo, Bishop Josué Adam Lazier, from the 4th Ecclesiastic Region, which covers both Brazilian states, denied information that the phenomenon was linked to ecumenism with the Roman Catholic Church.
"It is a pity that this anti-ecumenical idea has been portrayed as a feeling of all members and pastors of the 4th region. This is not so, as the vast majority of our church members do not share these concerns. We do recognize that there are individuals, both in the laity and clergy who have reservations about ecumenism, especially with the Roman Catholic Church, but this can not be presented as covering a broad spectrum of church members, as some people are doing", highlighted the Bishop.
In his explanation, Bishop Adam Lazier assured that there is "a healthy and fruitful missionary awakening" and that the 4th Region has been growing in numbers. The bishop deplored the growth of extraneous ideas within the Methodist Church, "many of which originate from within Pentecostal movements and have been introduced in our midst.".
The Bishop explained that the Methodist Church is also a pentecostal church, for it is moved by "the dynamic action of the Holy Spirit of God. But it does not follow this fad called neo-pentecostalism, which represents ecclesiologies, practices, ministries and pastoral actions that do not fit the doctrines and confessional identity that have served as the foundation for the organisation of our church.".
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