United Methodist and British Methodists Leaders Strengthen Global Mission Relationships
by Dr. Larry R. Hygh, Jr.
February 9, 2012, New York, NY--For the second year in a row, top leaders from the General Board of Global Ministries met with 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 group was led by 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, fundraising methods, strengthening relationships in the Holy Land, and mission education. The Rev. Christine Elliott, secretary of external relationships, 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 humor common issues of what it means to be in partnership." She added, "We recognized and were open about our differences, but we relished our points in common which are many and various."
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. Kemper said, "Global Ministries is sometimes a participant, sometimes an organizer, and sometimes a facilitator of these events." Roundtables have been held for many years and continue to occur in a variety of mission contexts.
The group also discussed ways to strengthen relationships with partners in Israel and Palestine. Talks centered 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 Kemper.
In addition to talking with the British Methodists' Connexional Staff, the Global Ministries group also met with representatives of other church bodies, including the Connexional Grants committee, and officers of the British Methodist Missionary Society.
The group also had the opportunity to visit John Wesley's Chapel, home, and burial site, as well as the British Parliament. At Parliament, the group was hosted at 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 traveled to Global Ministries' headquarters in New York City. The meeting was the first time in a decade that British and United Methodist mission leaders met to talk about common objectives in mission. Prior to the meeting in 2010, the two groups had not met around mission themes since a consultation of "Mission and Ministry Together" in Los Angeles in 2000. The London meeting was a follow-up to the initial meeting in New York City.
The Rev. Thomas Quenet, partnership coordinator, concluded, "Our time together was marked by the warmth of Christian fellowship. I give God thanks for the partnership between our churches." Quenet said he looks forward to continued cooperation to maximize the resources of people and experience to carry out God's mission throughout the world.
The General Board of Global Ministries has personnel, programs, and mission partners in 136 countries. It facilitates international and domestic mission, including missionary service. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and the Women's Division, the corporate entity of United Methodist Women, are parts of the agency.
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.
Hygh is the associate general secretary, director of communications, for the General Board of Global Ministries.
Date posted: Feb 09, 2012