My beloved member churches UEM in three regions and the Bodelschwingh Foundation in Bethel, Germany!
Dear UEM Management Team Members, General Secretary, staff and ecumenical workers!
My trusted colleagues in the UEM Council 2016-2021 and Vice moderators!
I am humbly wishing you: Have a blessed Easter! The word of God confirms it: “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1. Corinthians 15:57)
I hope you all are well and remain fit especially amidst a calamity of the Covid-19. Our world is shaken by the Covid-19. The global churches must cancel their Sunday services and regular ministries; employees must work from home and discontinue their products; schools and any educational institutions are locked; business centers and economic activities from small to large scales muss halt their operations; national borders are closed and the recent numbers of infected people have reached more than 2 million people. Most of the global countries have been affected by the outbreak of this virus. The rich countries are also not prepared to anticipate its mortal impacts. We are even more worried on the countries with financial and health systems limitations including the refugees, which could make the outbreaks even worse. We are like the disciples of Jesus who were afraid and hopeless as the Messiah was crucified and buried. Hopelessness, anxiety, sorrow and death have been our daily realities.
My brothers and sisters, but please be aware that our Christianity was not shaped in the comfort situations, but rather in the climate of sorrow, persecutions and death. However, the history tells us, that the number of first Christians even grew up in the midst of a crisis. Indeed, the risen Christ was the one who strengthened and uplifted their spirits to proclaim the Gospel and to live as the true Christian communities.
Dear friends, may the resurrection of Jesus Christ grant us strength and peace among the UEM families. I realize that many people do not have any serious concern with the virus. The largest troubles for them are massive poverties, high unemployment, and economic recession as consequences of the outbreak. However, I draw your attention to follow firmly the instructions from our own governments and from the global health institutions. Let us discipline our self to obey physical distancing as well as to live in healthy physical, mental, and spiritual conditions, so that the comprehensive healings would be fulfilled soon.
As the faithful communities in Jesus Christ we are called to “carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2). I am touched by the decision initiated by the UEM Management Team to donate One Million Euro to ease the burdens of our member churches in Asia and Africa which have been enormously affected by the pandemic. Moreover, I am asking you to elevate our Christian solidarity and social responsibilities to contribute more financial donations to UEM. UEM community which celebrates the Easter means that we are all courageous and convinced to overcome the valley of insecurity and depressions, as togetherness in the risen Christ is our strength.
Let us enhance our fellowship and intensify habits of the digital technologies in the time of physical distancing. In this turbulent phase we are called to develop our networks in many creative ways. I do thank you for posting the Prayer Alerts regularly which means for me that UEM is the praying community. Let us also pray for our friends who dedicate their life to serve us: medical workers, farmers, mail carriers, public transporters, etc. I conclude my Easter message with the words of the angels on the day of Jesus´s resurrection: “Do not be afraid ….. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” (Matthew 28:5-6).
With kind regards,
Rev. Dr (H.C) Willem TP Simarmata
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