I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.

As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

-- John 17:20-21, NRSV

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Application for Grant Assistance For Local Ecumenical and Interreligious Ministries



The Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships is a ministry of the Council of Bishops. Our vision is for The United Methodist Church to live more fully into Christian unity and deepen interreligious relationships. To that end we are offering 3 grants, each in the amount of $1,000 to groups within annual conferences for special projects designed to strengthen ecumenical and/or interreligious relationships. The application deadline is September 15, 2015. Recipients will be chosen and checks will be mailed by November 15, 2015. The projects must be completed between December 2015 and July 2016. Preference will be given to annual conference groups elected to lead in Christian unity and interreligious relationships.


Click here to download the 2015 application for grant assistance for local ecumenical and interreligious ministries.


Please submit completed applications to Jean Hawxhurst at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it by September 15, 2015.  



John Huss and His Significance to United Methodists

By Dr. Glen Alton Messer, II 

On 6 July 1415 the Czech priest and rector of the University of Prague, Jan Hus (in English, John Hus or Huss), was burned alive for heresy. This year marks the 600th anniversary of his death as a result of his efforts to reform the church of his day. Many of his ideas, themselves echoes of ideas espoused by the Englishman, John Wycliffe (c. 1331-1384), were taken up by Martin Luther, John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, and others, to shape the Reformations of the 16th century. How is Jan Hus significant to United Methodists and what is it important to know about this church reformer? 

Jan Hus (c. 1369-1415) is one of the most significant historical figures in the transmission of ideas that would become essential components of efforts to correct what were perceived by him, and many others, as errors in Medieval church doctrine, church government, and understandings of how to live an authentic Christian life. Breaking with the general practice of the day, he preached in the common language of Bohemians (Czech) and believed that the scriptures should be translated and available to all peoples in their native tongue. He saw the Bible as the source of religious authority and trusted that the people could read and interpret it for themselves. The main function of the priest was to preach to the people and call them to a Christian life. Priests were not intermediaries between the individual and God. Indeed, he rejected the notion that the hierarchy of the church was necessary to the salvation of Christians. Jan Hus emphasized the importance of free will and of the individual to take responsibility for their life in accordance with the teachings of faith. 

Jan Hus was also an outspoken critic of the bishops and popes of his day. The Medieval church had undergone a lengthy period of internal strife — exemplified by a period in which there were multiple claimants to the papacy. The church’s integrity was in question, owing to money-making schemes whereby pardons for sin were exchanged for payment (indulgences). It had also become common practice to charge for priestly services and the performance of certain rites. Whatever Hus could not find authorized in scripture he either openly questioned or outright rejected. 



Jan Hus’s emphasis upon scripture as the lens through which all doctrine and practices of the church are to be understood is something that is very familiar to United Methodists. Likewise, his upholding the importance of the individual’s responsibility in the exercise of their faith makes sense in light of Methodism’s emphasis upon lay ministry and lay piety. There is also a connection to the United Methodist traditions through the Moravians, who had a significant early influence upon John Wesley. The Moravians, another religious group originating in what is now the Czech Republic, some of whom were influenced by  so-called ‘Hussites’ (Czech followers of the teachings of Jan Hus), eventually formed what we now know as the Moravian Church. Wesley borrowed much from the missional ideology and practices of piety he encountered in his brief association with the Moravians early in his ministry. These elements of the Methodist traditions can be traced, in part, through Wesley, through the Moravians, and, eventually, back to Hus. 

Jan Hus was often accused of heresy (believing religious ideas opposed to official church teachings); but he believed that what he preached and taught was clearly supported by scripture. In 1415, he travelled to the Council of Constance, then gathered to settle many issues dividing the church at that time. He sought to debate and defend his understandings of scripture and doctrine. Rather than persuading the church leaders at Constance, however, he was condemned as a heretic and sentenced to die. He was burned alive, refusing to renounce his understandings of doctrine because he felt the Council had not demonstrated that his ideas were wrong. 


Suggestions for Further Reading: 

Fudge, Thomas A. 2010. Jan Hus: Religious Reform and Social Revolution in Bohemia. New York, NY: I. B. Taurus. 

Hus, Jan. 1915. De Ecclesia/The Church. David S. Schaff, trans. New York, NY: Scribner’s. [This treatise on the church, written by Hus and translated by David Schaff, is also available in reprint editions and electronic formats.] 

Hus, Jan. 1972. Letters of John Hus. Matthew Spinka, trans. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield. 

Schaff, David S. 1915. John Huss; his life, teachings and death, after five hundred years. New York, NY: Scribner’s. [This book is also available in reprint editions, electronic formats, and as an audiobook.] 

Application for Scholarship to Attend the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey
The Ecumenical Institute at Bossey was founded by the World Council of Churches in Switzerland in 1946 as an “ecumenical laboratory,” bringing together students of ecumenism in Christian community. OCUIR is pleased to offer scholarships to 1 or 2 students who wish to participate in the “Complementary Certificate in Ecumenical Studies” (CC) through Bossey in conjunction with the University of Geneva. A total amount of $10,000 will be split between the chosen applicants.
Applicants for this scholarship must be members of the United Methodist Church, be between the ages of 22 and 30, be preparing for vocational ministry in the UMC, and be accepted by Bossey into the study program. The deadline to receive applications to Bossey is November 30, 2015, so your completed application for the scholarship must be received by Jean Hawxhurst in the OCUIR office no later than September 14, 2015. Notification will be given to the scholarship recipients no later than October 8, 2015. For more information about the CC in Ecumenical Studies go to
Click here to download the 2016 application for scholarship assistance to attend the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey.
Please submit completed applications to Jean Hawxhurst at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it by September 14, 2015. 

The Korean Methodist Church Continues Its Legacy of UMC Partnership

Bishop Yong Jai Jun share about the importance of the partnership between

the Korean Methodist Church and The United Methodist Church.


By Judith Santiago*

New York, N.Y., June 26, 2015 — The historic mission partnership between the Korean Methodist Church (KMC) and The United Methodist Church (UMC) will grow even stronger as a result of a meeting held this week. 

Top-level leaders from the Korean Methodist Church, including Bishop Yong Jai Jun, president of the Korean Bishop’s Council, met in New York on June 23 with representatives of the United Methodist Council of Bishops and the denomination’s General Board of Global Ministries. The goal was to strengthen joint mission efforts in the future.  

“Today’s meeting is significant—to discuss theological matters, some mission strategies, and to set a strategic committee,” said Bishop Jun. “I hope and pray that we will have ongoing communication and connection to create a mission partnership, especially for our mission programs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America,” he continued.  

“I think that this is the right time to advance conversations with the Korean Methodist Church on ways we can partner strategically and purposely,” said Thomas Kemper, chief executive of the UMC mission agency, who participated in the meeting along with other Global Ministries executives.

7628 Kemper and Bishop JunNEW

Photo: Global Ministries General Secretary Thomas Kemper receives a gift from Bishop Yong Jai Jun, president of the Bishop’s Council of the Korean Methodist Church, during their historical meeting on June 23, 2015. 

Also joining the discussion were representatives from the Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships (OCUIR) of the US Council of Bishops, including Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar, who chairs the Council of Bishops Leadership Team on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations, and the Rev. Dr. Stephen Sidorak, Jr., ecumenical staff officer.  (Read more …. )

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