Coronavirus: Methodist leader sends message of support to Chinese Churches

China is struggling to contain an outbreak of the deadly coronavirus(Photo: Reuters)

The President of the Methodist Conference in Britain has sent a message of support to the leaders of China's official Churches as the country struggles to contain the deadly coronavirus. 

In her letter, the Rev Dr Barbara Glasson assured the Catholic Church in China and the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of prayers as she commended Chinese Christians for their "strong" faith.

She spoke of her concern over the increasing number of fatalities caused by the outbreak, and said that the UK Church was "close" to Chinese Christians in prayer despite the geographical gulf.

"I am writing on behalf of the Methodist Church in Britain to share our love and prayers for the people of China as you manage the health crisis associated with the Coronavirus outbreak in Hubei province," she said.

"We are aware that many people are suffering and anxious and we are very concerned to hear of the rising number of deaths associated with the outbreak. We are particularly mindful of those families who have lost loved ones in recent days." 

She spoke of her hope that the Chinese health services, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and medical experts would soon be able to "limit" the disease and find a cure. 

"We thank God for all those who are heading medical research into the disease," she said.

"At such times we realise that we are dependent on expertise, advice and cooperation from people across the world." 

She went on to say that the Methodist Church would be supporting Chinese congregations in the UK and diaspora communities worldwide.

"We are glad that the Church in China is strong both in numbers and faith," she said.

"We know that you will be working alongside communities to help people be calm and to support those in need. Although we are many miles away geographically, we feel close to you in prayer.

"Please be assured of our concern for you all. and our shared faith in the love of Jesus who shows us his strength in our human vulnerability.

"We are also mindful of the concerns of the Chinese diaspora community across the world, particularly in the UK, and will be offering our support for them as best we can." 

The UK Government has declared coronavirus to be a "serious and imminent threat" to public health as the global death toll jumped to 908, with over 40,000 infections. 

On Monday morning, the chief medical officer for England, Prof Chris Whitty, confirmed four new cases of coronavirus in England, bringing the total in the UK to eight.