A Church dedicated to renewal
As I put this article together, I am mindful of the events of this quarter, from Ash Wednesday to Easter, Ascension and Pentecost, when Methodist were encouraged to take part in the global nine-day prayer movement, ‘Thy Kingdom come’ and those in between such as General Church Meetings, Church Anniversary, Aldersgate Sunday or Wesley Day.
It is said that in the second century AD, Christianity was under attack from Greek and Roman thinkers who argued that it was a godless religion which engaged in barbaric practices. These attacks gave rise to a group of people known as apologists, those who defended Christianity against these charges. One of the earliest of these defenders was a Greek philosopher, Aristides, who addressed his apology to the Roman emperor Hadrian. These are his words:
Christians love one another. They never fail to help widows; they save orphans from those who would hurt them. If a man has something, he gives freely to the man who has nothing. If they see a stranger, Christians take him home and are happy, as though he were a real brother… If they hear that one of them is in jail, or persecuted for professing the name of their redeemer, they all give him what he needs… This is really a new kind of person. There is something divine in them.