In this issue, we feature a bishop’s commentary on a German church’s practice of using a “portable” cross. How might this apply to the mission field context where it is not always possible to worship in a church building?
IN THE SANCTUARY OF the United Methodist Church in Bremerhaven, Germany, is a “portable” cross. One Sunday every month, the congregation takes the cross to a place somewhere in the city. They worship in a park, at the river bank or in the cemetery.
People join them. They listen to the invitation to lay down their burden at the cross. Some take the courage to enter the chapel next Sunday. They become a part of a diverse community of those who need others and who need Christ to find their way to meaningful lives. There is tremendous growth in that congregation.
It would be much more convenient to worship in the chapel every Sunday. But neither the longstanding United Methodists nor the inhabitants of the city of Bremerhaven would experience that Christ is out there in the public arena amongst those who struggle with all kinds of challenges. I am excited that United Methodists take the risk to follow Jesus to places outside their comfort zones.
In Christ, the marginalised become stakeholders for the new community, which is a foretaste of heaven in a broken world. – United Methodist News Service.
Rosemarie Wenner is President of the Council of Bishops in The United Methodist Church (UMC) and Bishop of the UMC’s Central Conference in Germany.