The issues of social justice have always stirred humanity. In particular, the United Methodist Church, who has always stood up for solving the problems existing in the society.
South District Seminar on UMC Social Principles was planned and organized to educate. Due to the thorough preparation and coordination between DS Irina Margulis (UMC Eurasia representative in Church and Society General Board), South District DS Irina Mitina and Sochi UMC pastor Nadezhda Torlina the seminar took place in Adler (Sochi area) retreat centre on the coast of the Black Sea. We are absolutely thankful for the support of CSGB.
Many church members (as well as South District local pastors) were very little familiar with our Social principles and sometimes confused the terms “social ministry” and “social principles”. This became clear in the very beginning of the seminar.
Thanks to our speakers, the representatives from CSGB, Neal Christie and Clayton Childers some changes were made. Neal and Clayton shared Social principles with us in a very detailed way. Those were not just lecturing, but rather an interactive communication, like pair discussions in small groups, sharing one’s opinion from around “the aquarium” (a special task where everyone has a chance to speak up), wonderful samples of imaging. At first, the walls of the room, where seminar took place, were absolutely blank. In the end of the seminar they were totally covered with different images, pictures, diagrams. The discussions kept going also into the lunch time and free time and long after midnight. The participants not just got to know something new, but this information touched the very bottoms of their hearts and resulted in a thorough feedback.
We’re thankful to Bishop Eduard Khegay for visiting our seminar, and that the people had the opportunity to talk with him during the breaks and the mealtime. During the district meeting Bishop shared about basic directions of the ministry our church was taking for the years 2016-2022.
In the end of the seminar all the participants received a certificate and a home assignment. We want that the knowledge, we got there, would not just remain a theory. The participants will take a similar seminar in their local churches, and then each church will pick up one of the social principles and set a goal to achieve, will work out a strategy and start moving towards achieving the goal. In order to study UMC Social principles, we had published a booklet “Social principles 2013-2016” (a series “We are the United Methodists”), which includes teaching materials. Each participant got this booklet.
During the seminar wrap-up the participants shared their gifts and talents. There was a short worship performance, where both students and teachers participated. The performance like this is a tradition for the UMC Eurasia South district.
We thank God for the time of learning and sharing. We ask Him to bless our ministries to change this world for the better.
With love in Christ!
District Superintendant of UMC Eurasia South district
Photos by South District
Translate by V. Ditmar