United Methodists Call for Immediate Release of Missionaries Being Held by Republic of the Philippines

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The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is calling for the immediate release of missionaries being held by the Republic of the Philippines and has launched a worldwide #LetThemLeave campaign against treatment of the three young adults who have been denied permission to leave the country.

United Methodist leaders call for missionaries to be released.

United Methodist leaders call for missionaries to be released.

We are respectfully asking that these young people be allowed to leave.

Calling for a missionary’s immediate release from the Bicutan Detention Center in the Philippines, the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church today took the unusual step of calling upon the government of the Republic of the Philippines to expedite the discharge of a young adult United Methodist missionary who has been the victim of repeated bureaucratic delays that have caused him to be incarcerated for more than six weeks.

The Council, and the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, the agency from which Tawanda Chandiwana received his Christian commission, are launching a worldwide campaign to call public attention to the plight of Tawanda and two other missionaries who were in the country fulfilling their commission to show God’s love in the world.

Despite continuing efforts by the staff of the local regional United Methodist conference, Philippines-based attorneys and officials with The United Methodist Church, Mr. Chandiwana of Mutare, Zimbabwe, Adam Shaw of Brunswick, Ohio, and Miracle Osman of Blantyre, Malawi, have experienced repeated difficulties getting the legal documents and clearance they need to leave the Republic of the Philippines.

“We vigorously protest this treatment of our mission personnel, placed and supervised in collaboration with The United Methodist Church in the Philippines,” said Thomas Kemper, general secretary (chief executive) of United Methodist Global Ministries, the worldwide mission agency of the denomination with 12.5 million members in the U.S., Africa, Europe, and the Philippines.

“It is unconscionable that Tawanda has been held for six weeks,” continued Kemper. “We are respectfully asking that these young people be allowed to leave.”

On June 26, the full Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church joined their episcopal colleagues in the Philippines and Global Ministries in appealing to the Philippines’ government to free and allow Chandiwana to leave the country. They also asked for immediate action by the Bureau of Immigration that would allow Ms. Osman, and Mr. Shaw to leave voluntarily. Read more here.

The Council of Bishops called upon United Methodists to pray daily at noon, wherever they are, for the three missionaries for as long as the three are held. United Methodist leaders also have launched a worldwide #LetThemLeave campaign against the mistreatment of these three missionaries in the Philippines.

Learn more here.

About the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church:
The General Board of Global Ministries is the worldwide mission agency of The United Methodist Church. Founded in New York City in 1819, Global Ministries today supports more than 300 missionaries in 60 countries, including the United States. It has personnel, projects and partners in a total of 136 countries. Learn more about Global Ministries by visiting http://www.UMCmission.org or follow http://www.facebook.com/GlobalMinistries and http://www.Twitter.com/UMCmission.

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