The United Methodist Church Welcomes Pope Francis with Prayer

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Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, president of The United Methodist Council of Bishops, stands with other United Methodist leaders and faith communities to welcome Pope Francis with prayers. Bishop Wenner released a statement regarding the election.

We, the people of The United Methodist Church, are ready to continue the journey with the Roman Catholic Church, praying for one another, staying in respectful dialogue with one another, knowing of the differences but believing that Christ unites us.

Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church
100 Maryland Ave. NE
Washington, D.C. 20002

For Immediate Release
March 14, 2013

The United Methodist Church welcomes Pope Francis with prayer

Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, president of The United Methodist Council of Bishops stands with other United Methodist leaders and faith communities to welcome Pope Francis with prayers and warm wishes. Bishop Wenner released a statement regarding the election of Pope Francis.

The statement follows:

"It is a historical moment in the life of the Roman Catholic Church. The conclave elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina. For the first time ever, the Roman Catholic Church elected a pope who comes “from the edge of the world,” as Pope Francis said. What a sign for change in the map of Christianity! The name that Cardinal Bergoglio has chosen is a program: The church must live with the poor, as Francis from Assisi did. The humble gesture to ask for the prayers of the people is a sign for deep spirituality.

The first words of Pope Francis, saying that the people of God and the bishop from Rome will walk together in love, are—we hope—a sign for the ecumenical journey as well. We, the people of The United Methodist Church, are ready to continue the journey with the Roman Catholic Church, praying for one another, staying in respectful dialogue with one another, knowing of the differences but believing that Christ unites us. Most of all, we will serve the world together as companions (Spanish: compañero) and followers of Jesus Christ. Let us pray for Pope Francis and commit ourselves to work for the unity of the church as we love one another and stay in mission together.

A personal footnote: I was watching the announcement at the meeting of the National Council of Churches in Germany. The Roman Catholic Church is a full member of the German National Council of Churches. The election was a surprise to all of us. We see the election of a non-European as a sign of hope. It is a wonderful experience to celebrate this moment together. We pray that we will make progress in the ecumenical fellowship in the years to come."

About the Council of Bishops
The Council of Bishops provides leadership and helps set the direction of the 12 million-member church and its mission throughout the world. The bishops are the top clergy leaders of The United Methodist Church, the second largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.

Contact:
Diane Degnan
(615) 742-5406 (office)
(615) 483-1765 (cell)

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Diane Degnan
United Methodist Communications
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