Mission directors act and hear reports on wide range of issues
By Elliott Wright
New York, NY, October 27, 2015—One hundred forty two young adults, ages 20 to 30, were in United Methodist mission service during 2015, according to statistics reported October 3 at the annual meeting of directors of the church’s General Board of Global Ministries.
The figure represents two classes of Global Mission Fellows, who serve for two years either in international placements or in the United States. Members of the class of 2013 completed their service on October 1, 2015. The new class consists of 91 Global Mission Fellows, 64 international placements, 24 in the United States, and three serving as advocates for the young adult mission program. Global Mission Fellows forms a key component of Generation Transformation, an initiative to increase opportunities for young adults to engage in mission
Agency directors also heard that 175 individuals are serving as long-term missionaries around the world and 69 within the United States. Another 111 people are serving or recently have served as mission volunteers for periods ranging from several weeks to three years. The mission agency also contributes to the support of mission personnel—called Nationals in Mission—selected and placed by partner churches. For a report on this program see http://www.umcmission.org/learn-about-us/news-and-stories/2015/october/1019missiongrants
Directors approved a working budget of $54.9 million for basic program and operations in 2016, and $4 million for a separate global health budget, with a proviso for review at the next board meeting in March of next year. The 2016 budget for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), which has its own board comprised by a subset of Global Ministries’ directors, was set at $14.9 million.
A revised budget of $15 million was approved for the renovation of property in Atlanta, Georgia, which will serve as Global Ministries’ headquarters beginning fall 2016. The agency purchased and is reconditioning the buildings and property of Grace United Methodist Church. At this meeting, additional phases added to prior approvals were for partial site development and interior costs for furniture, fittings, and equipment. Grace Church and Action Ministries, a program of the North Georgia Annual (regional) Conference of the church will continue to occupy space in the facility.
Advance committee looks at migration
The committee that oversees the Advance for Christ and His Church, the designated mission-giving channel, heard a full report on international ministries with migrants. Four dimensions of such ministry were described: the right of people to survive and flourish so they do not have to leave their homes, the right of safe passage if they migrate, the right to be welcomed in a new place, and ministry to those who may be sent home (deported). Examples were given of how the church—including Advance projects—engages in each type of situation.
Directors heard a report on Africa University, located in Zimbabwe, launched 25 years ago with considerable backing from the mission agency to serve the entire continent. Dr. Maggie Jackson, an educator from Ohio and a trustee of Africa University, reported on the school’s growth and the extent of its influence in both the church and civic life across Africa.
Dr. Jackson noted that the university has expanded from two schools, theology and agriculture, to seven: education, health sciences, management, humanities, peace, leadership and governance. She said that 40 percent of the student body is from throughout Africa (60 percent from Zimbabwe) and that 51 percent is women. Dr. Jackson is one of three current African University trustees named by Global Ministries.
Global Ministries Hosts “In Our Son’s Name” Film Screening
In the midst of the flurry of board and program meetings, Global
Ministries board of directors, staff and guests paused on October 2, to
watch a screening of “In Our Son’s Name.” Shirley and Orlando Rodriguez,
the protagonists, and Gayla Jamison, Director/Producer, participated in
a question-and-answer session following the screening.
“In Our Son’s Name” is the poignant story of Shirley and Orlando
Rodriguez’s courageous transformation after their son, Greg, dies in the
World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. http://www.inoursonsname.com/synopsis.php
As the U.S. equipped itself for retaliation against Osama Bin Laden
and all those associated with his terrorist movement, Shirley and
Orlando chose a different path— one towards healing and reconciliation.
Shirley and Orlando become peacemakers speaking out against the war in
Iraq and Afghanistan. Shirley befriends the mother of Zacarias Moussaoui
as he faces the death penalty for terrorist acts against the United
States. When asked at the film screening about her process of
forgiveness, Shirley states, “People think forgiveness means forgiving
the act committed against our son, Greg, but it doesn’t. Forgiveness for
me means asking, ‘Why would someone do something like that?’ and then
recognizing as humans we are all in some way capable of such acts.”
“In Our Son’s Name” is a life-changing film for individuals and faith
communities seeking new ways of responding to violence in our world.
“In Our Son’s Name” on DVD is available for sale: http://www.inoursonsname.com/index.php
Mary Andreolli, author