UMC and British Methodist leaders
boost global mission ties
By Larry R. Hygh Jr
NEW YORK – Top leaders from the General Board of Global Ministries met representatives of the Methodist Church of Great Britain to continue conversations with a goal of being more effective partners in mission.
The two-day meeting took place in London at the British Methodist headquarters. The United Methodist Church (UMC) group was led by Mr Thomas Kemper, General Secretary, who said it had been a useful meeting and “showed the growing collaboration between the UMC and British Church in its international mission work”.
The agenda included discussion on roundtable approaches to mission, international congregations, fund-raising methods, strengthening relationships in the Holy Land, and mission education.
The Rev Christine Elliott, Secretary of External Relationships of the British Church, said: “It was a delight to welcome the General Secretary and three senior staff of Global Ministries to Methodist Church House where we were able to share openly, honestly, and with good humour, common issues of what it means to be in partnership.
“We recognised and were open about our differences, but we relished our points in common which are many and various.”
Mr Kemper continues to stress the importance of the roundtable approach to mission. A roundtable brings together a variety of mission partners engaged in work within a common location or aspect of missional enterprise.
He said: “Global Ministries is sometimes a participant, sometimes an organiser, and sometimes a facilitator of these events.” Roundtables have been held for many years and continue to occur in various mission contexts.
The group also discussed ways to strengthen relationships with partners in Israel and Palestine. Talks centred on how to collectively work together in the region. “Solutions and efforts to bring about peace in that region of the world will come from diverse groups working together,” said Mr Kemper.
The UMC group also visited John Wesley's Chapel, his home and burial site, as well as the British Parliament. At Parliament, the group was hosted to dinner by members of the House of Lords and Methodist ministers Lord Leslie Griffiths and Baroness Kathleen Richardson.
In 2010, during Advent, the British Church’s World Church Relationships staff travelled to Global Ministries’ headquarters in New York City. The London meeting was a follow-up to the initial meeting in New York City.
The General Board of Global Ministries has personnel, programmes and mission partners in 136 countries. It facilitates international and domestic mission, including missionary service.
The Methodist Church in Britain works with 60 partner churches worldwide in four geographical areas: Africa, Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, as well as the Methodist Church in Ireland. The church sends and receives mission partners, arranges scholarships for students, and advises on the mutual sharing of resources and experiences with their partner churches. – United Methodist News Service.
Dr Larry R. Hygh Jr is the Associate General Secretary, Director of Communications, of the General Board of Global Ministries.