This open letter comes from National Superintendent Emeritus Rev Dr Richard Waugh. Richard currently serves as the Senior Minister of East City Wesleyan in Botany, Auckland.
Kia Ora, Malo e lelei, Talofa lava, Ah nyoung ha se yo, Bula Vinaka, Ni Hao, Noaia, Greetings,
Blessings to you and your family at this time of continued social restrictions. While these are demanding days, at the same time we can be hopeful of a more positive future. Irrespective of what political persuasion you might be, it is so encouraging to see the increasing vaccination rates across our nation. The vaccines are safe and life-giving, and personally, without them, I would be at great risk due to my compromised immunity after cancer treatment last year. Vaccination literally allows me to continue ministry in my community due to the protection it offers me personally, but also the collective immunity we offer each other.
Vaccination literally allows me to continue ministry in my community due to the protection it offers me personally, but also the collective immunity we offer each other.
In the Wesleyan stream of the church we have a rich heritage about health and wellness, thanks to the foundational theology and ministry of Rev. John Wesley. He constantly ministered with the poor and was always committed to promoting good health. His small tract Primitiv Physick was written for laypersons to encourage good healthy habits, including moderation in diet, drink, exercise and rest. It went through 23 editions in Wesley’s own lifetime.
John Wesley once noted in a letter that an outbreak of smallpox took the life of one of his university friends. I would think Wesley would agree with medical advice about safe practices, including vaccines, to help people in the current challenging situation around the world. His rules for Christian living are both simple, profound and relevant, “Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can.”
Wesley would also counsel that the essence of being holy, or sanctified, is to walk closely with God and with humankind (Hebrews 12:14). Perfect love is about fully loving God and fully loving our neighbours, including times of extending grace and compassion to those facing disease. Christians – including those in the Methodist/Wesleyan stream of the church – have always been prominent in such practical support and love.
May it continue to be so for us in the Wesleyan Methodist church family.
Rev Dr Richard Waugh, QSM
National Superintendent Emeritus