First Class of Global Mission Fellows Takes Flight
(Left to right) Bishops Rodolfo Alfonso Juan, Pete Torio, Hope Morgan Ward, Warner Brown, Eduard Khegay and Ciriaco Q. Francisco, lay hands on Global Missions Fellow John Yambasu.
By Melissa Hinnen*
“The God who will go with you is also the God who is already there.”
Bishop Hope Morgan Ward declared these words to 42 passionate and mission-minded young adults being commissioned by the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries as Generation Transformation Global Mission Fellows. Ward leads the North Carolina episcopal area and is the president of the denomination’s mission agency.
The commissioning service on July 19 reflected traditional Filipino worship. Held at Island Cove in Cavite, Philippines, it was part of the United Methodist Global Young People’s Convocation. Typhoon Rammasun (locally known as Glenda) on July 16 forced relocation of the events from Tagaytay to closer to Manila. None of the participants was injured.
Underscoring the international presence at the commissioning service, Thomas Kemper, top executive of Global Ministries, said, “Today we have with us six bishops from three continents and 42 young adults aged 20-30 from 11 countries who come not only from the United Methodist tradition but the wider Methodist family and our ecumenical partners.” He continued, “As these Global Mission Fellows are sent to serve in 15 countries, they are united in living out God’s mission.”
In addition to Ward, the bishops who participated in the service were Bishop Warner Brown (San Francisco Area and president of the Council of Bishops), Bishop Ciriaco Francisco (Davao Area), Bishop Rodolfo Juan (Manila Area), Bishop Eduard Khegay (Eurasia Area) and Bishop Peter Torio (Baguio Area).
As each Global Mission Fellow was commissioned, a bishop, a current mission intern and representatives from Global Ministries laid hands on them and said, “We commission you to take the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ into all the world.” Anchor crosses were placed around their necks as a sign of their commissioning as missionaries and their being anchored in Christ and in community. Convocation delegates placed a prayer scarf around each of the new missionaries. Family and friends who could be present could watch a live stream of the commissioning.
The Global Mission Fellows attended the Global Young People’s Convocation as non-voting delegates. In a training workshop, they affirmed that being with each other for their commissioning as well as with other young people from around the world was particularly special. When a speaker asked delegates who sensed a call to serve in mission to stand, approximately two dozen people responded. The rest prayed for their discernment.
Building on the model of Global Ministries’ historic US-2 and mission intern programs, this is the first class of Global Mission Fellows. They will spend two years serving in mission and social justice ministries at international and domestic sites. “Engaging in mission in the Wesleyan tradition is a means of grace,” Ward told them. “We connect in new ways because of the extravagance of God.”
Following the commissioning service, participants used locally purchased food to assemble 600 UMCOR packets. The National Council of Churches in the Philippines distributed the bags to a community affected by Typhoon Rammasun. Global Mission Fellow Sarah Roemer appreciated the opportunity to respond saying, “We came to be in community with the Philippines. After the disaster, we wanted to help out the host country.”
Please keep these young adults and the communities they will serve in prayer. Financial support can be made through The Advance #13105z.
Learn more about Generation Transformation at www.umcmission.org/gt.
*Melissa Hinnen is the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries director of content and public information. She wrote this story with input from the 2014 Generation Transformation Global Mission Fellows.