|The United Methodist Church Makes the Malawi District a Missionary Conference|
by Andrew J. Schleicher*
Fort Worth, TX, April 27, 2008--A United Methodist district in the African country of Malawi was elevated to the standing of a "missionary conference" by General Conference on April 27. Some 990 delegates to the legislative assembly supported the measure by a vote of 92 percent.
"It opens up Malawi for church agencies to empower the local people," said Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa, leader of the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area and the new missionary conference in Malawi. With 18,329 members and 17 pastors, there is a "tremendous level of ministry," he said.
The vision for this new missionary conference, Bishop Nhiwatiwa said, "is really to push the boundaries of what the church is doing in a very positive way." His excitement was evident as he discussed the new Malawi missionary conference. He related the act of creating the new conference with the 2008 General Conference's theme, "A Future with Hope" and extended his gratitude to the General Conference for its decision.
A missionary conference relates to the General Board of Global Ministries, which endorsed the petition requesting the change of status for the district in Malawi. It functions similarly to an annual conference, with some difference, especially with regard to ministerial membership, as outlined in ¶ 586 of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2004.
* Freelance journalist Andrew J. Schleicher is a member of the General Conference communications team for the General Board of Global Ministries.
Date posted: Apr 28, 2008