Plans Laid to Strengthen Partnerships Between US and Eastern European Congregations
Budapest, Hungary, Nov. 18, 2008--Plans were laid in early November to strengthen a program that builds partnerships between United Methodist congregations in the United States and in seven Eastern European countries.
For the first time, indigenous coordinators from the Eastern European countries met in a European context--in Budapest--to consider In Mission Together, which in recent years has developed 35 partnerships between US and Eastern European congregations.
Previous meetings of the country coordinators have taken place in the US at the Eastern Europe and Balkans Consultations, also related to the General Board of Global Ministries, the United Methodist international mission agency. The coordinators will now meet biennially in Europe and every other year at the consultation.
The need to provide greater assistance to visiting mission-volunteer teams from the US was high on the agenda in Budapest. Coordinators from all seven countries agreed in their November 7-9 meeting to help the short-term teams. Each speaks English and understands the churches and culture in their homelands.
There are 160 United Methodist churches in the countries of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Poland, Serbia, and Slovakia. In 2008 so far, 40 mission teams from the US have visited, according to Richard Arnold, who is coordinator of the In Mission Together program for Global Ministries.
Mr. Arnold expressed a hope that the number of partnerships will grow significantly in the months ahead.
Other business in Budapest included reports from each of the seven countries, news from Global Ministries, and a premier showing of a new video on In Mission Together entitled "Across the Miles."
In addition to Arnold, others meeting with the In Mission Together country mission coordinators included Istvan Csernak, United Methodist superintendent in Hungary; Martha Brice, a US Individual Volunteer in Slovakia; Nancy Eubanks, a volunteer consultant; and the Rev. Urs Schweizer, assistant to Bishop Patrick Streiff of the Central and Southern Europe Central Conference.
The next Eastern Europe and Balkans Consultation will be held November 5-7, 2009, at West Market St. UMC in Greensboro, North Carolina.
For more information on In Mission Together, contact: Dick Arnold, 540-961-1265, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Date posted: Nov 18, 2008