Prior to the creation of the Methodist Border Friendship Commission (MBFC), resources from the UMC (in the US) were not connected to the Methodist Church (in Mexico or US) or were not directed to priority needs of the Church. Resources were uncoordinated and undirected. Many resources went to areas visible to the eye, or because of a verbal request made, not necessarily where the identified needs existed, as determined by appropriate Church officials (i.e. Bishops and District Superintendents on both sides of the border). The MBFC was organized to assist in coordinating, developing, and organizing resources in such a way as to meet the priority needs of the UMC/Methodist Church along the border.
The MBFC was also formed to assist in the establishment of relationships between the UM/Methodist (US-Mexico) churches and ministries along the US-Mexico border.
The Commission also seeks to assist in needs identification and support, in the creation of new ministries that are meeting the needs of those along the both sides of the US-Mexico Border.
To serve this purpose, those that make up the Commission are the Bishops and District Superintendents and one representative from each of the Districts on both sides of the US-Mexico border area. Those are the (1) Distrito Timoteo, Distrito Reynosa Oriente, Distrito San Pablo, Distrito Nuevo Fronterizo, Districto Fronterizo (border Districts) from the Eastern Conference of the Methodist Church of Mexico; (2) Southern District of the Rio Grande Conference of the UMC; (3) McAllen District, Kerrville District, and San Angelo District of the Southwest Texas Conference of the UMC.
Since this Commission was created, churches and ministries on both sides of the border have had a clearer vision of a coordinated effort to address the needs of the people in our area, on both sides of the border. We have a more coordinated structure for identifying needs and prioritizing them and assuring they meet the priorities of the appropriate Church official(s). Relationships of churches and ministries on both sides of the border have improved and communication has been enhanced. UMVIM teams have been encouraged and are better prepared to serve. We have become better hosts for teams and can communicate the needs of the ministries of our Churches. We worship together, rejoice together, and share concerns and prayers. We can more efficiently witness together, as one, in the name of Jesus Christ.
Goals & Objectives
(a) To provide 20 cases of Spanish Language Bibles to ministries and churches in need of them, annually.
(b) To assist a least one "new" ministry in start-up, annually.
(c) To assist and support at least 30 children annually with the Mexico Pastor's Scholarship.
(d) To assist in providing school supplies and once-a-day healthy meals to at least 200 children, annually.
(e) To assist in coordinating UMVIM teams and resources into identified areas of need.
(f) To provide support for two VIM Mexico Teams that partner with an UMVIM Team to serve an approved UMVIM site, annually.
(g) To host one Joint Worship Service per "area," annually.
(h) To promote ministries supported and prioritized by the MBFC through a website and quarterly newsletter.
(i) To develop a new Individual Volunteer and Global Justice Volunteer site in the border area
(j) To assist in creating a "clinic" in a small colonial area of Mexico by January 2013.
(k) To assist in developing and promoting a Food Box Program to serve 50 families annually by September 2012.
(l) To provide resource assistance to at least 1000 immigrants, in eight different ministries (four in the US/four in Mexico), in collaboration with the Methodist Border Mission Network and UMCOR donation of blankets, health kits, socks, and antibiotics, annually.
(m) To promote education of issues facing the border area through at least two border awareness tours and immersion experiences for seminary students, annually.
(a) Continue to support the position of the Border Area Mission Coordinator as the "staff" position of the Commission and the work of the Mexico Border Mission Coordinator/GBGM Missionary.
(b) Encourage joint worship services, and regular cross-border meetings to encourage relationships and support the work of the Church on both sides of the border.
(c) Continue evaluating the prioritizing ministries of the Methodist Church of Mexico and the UMC's on the US side of the border
(d) Continue requiring reports from ministries supported and promoted to ensure their integrity.
(e) Continue investigating and promoting alternative funding opportunities for ministries.
(f) Continue promoting ministries by communicating through websites, brochures, presentations, newsletter, emails, etc.
(g) Collaborate with the Methodist Border Mission Network (#3021081), Manos Juntas (#3020527), Mexico VIM Eastern Conference #14314A, UMVIM Teams in the US, the JFON Program in Pharr and Brownsville Texas, Good Neighbor Settlement House in Brownsville, and all UM/Methodist Churches and ministries (US/Mexico), in the area we cover.