Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

Global Ministries Remembers Eunice Jones Mathews

New York, N.Y., February 29, 2016—The chief executive of The United Methodist Church’s mission agency paid tribute to Eunice Jones Mathews, in a statement on the death of one of the leading mission thinkers and actors of the past century.  Mrs. Mathews would have been 102 years old on April 29.

The statement of Thomas Kemper, general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries, follows:

We thank and praise God for the life and Christian witness of Eunice Mathews, who was one of the pivotal figures in the shaping of contemporary United Methodist mission theology and practice.

An author in her own right, Eunice Mathews was born in India to missionary parents—her father was influential mission theologian E. Stanley Jones—and she was a full partner in mission with her husband, the late Bishop James K. Mathews. She visited India more than 60 times, and made dozens of trips to Africa, Asia, and Latin America with her husband.

Eunice and James Matthews’ great contribution was their emphasis on understanding the context of mission when proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This included showing respect for indigenous cultures and indigenous church leaders. And they encouraged social and health services.

The General Board of Global Ministries had the honor of presenting Eunice Mathews to the United Methodist General Conference on her 90th birthday in 2004. After a thunderous welcome, she recalled her life in a mission household and her years of work alongside her husband.

She also remarked that she did not have to be identified as the daughter of Jones or the wife of the bishop: “I have permission to be myself; and this is the freedom of Jesus Christ,” she said.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her living children, Dr. Anne T. Mathews-Younes and J. Stanley Mathews, and six grandchildren.

Read more: Eunice Jones Mathews dies at age 101 by Kathy Gilbert