South African Bishop is Nominee to Lead World Methodist Council
by Elliott Wright
New York, NY, March 28, 2011--An African church leader with a strong commitment to mission is the nominee to become the next chief executive of the World Methodist Council, which is made up of 74 member churches in 132 countries.
Bishop Ivan M. Abrahams is currently the presiding bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, which covers six countries, including South Africa. He is the unanimous choice of a search committee to fill the post of general secretary of the organization, according to a March 25 announcement from the council offices in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina.
The election is scheduled for a World Methodist Council meeting set for Durban, South African, next August 1-3. The new general secretary will succeed the Rev. Dr. George Freeman, who will be retiring.
"We enthusiastically welcome the nomination of Bishop Abrahams," said Thomas Kemper, chief executive of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries.
"Bishop Abrahams is among most theologically sound, administratively capable, and charismatically gifted leaders in the worldwide Wesleyan and Methodist communion."
Kemper said that the bishop has a comprehensive understanding of international affairs and is an excellent communicator. He and Bishop Abrahams have worked closely on global mission issues.
The World Methodist Council represents 75 million people. When elected, Bishop Abrahams will be the first council general secretary from Africa.
Bishop Abrahams was chosen as presiding bishop of the 650,000-member Methodist Church of Southern Africa in 2003, having been named as heads of its mission work in 1997. He was the bishop for Namibia from 1992 to 1996. The autonomous multi-racial denomination grew by 38 per cent from 2007 to 2010, according to recent reports. It traces its roots to the early years of the 19th century with the arrival of Methodists from Great Britain.
The bishop has worldwide Methodist and ecumenical connections. He is currently a member of the executive committee of the World Council of Churches. He is the chair of the South African Church Leaders' Forum.
Ivan Manuel Abrahams is a native of Cape Province. He is married and has three children.
The effective date of his appointment to the council position will be confirmed after the August election. The council's policy making unit will meet in Durban immediately prior to a five-day World Methodist Conference. For more information on the council and the world conference go online to http://worldmethodistcouncil.org/index.php.
Date posted: Mar 28, 2011