ATLANTA (April 13, 2023) – United Methodist representatives from all African annual conferences, episcopal leaders from across the continent, and Global Ministries Board of Directors and regional missionaries serving in Africa will gather for a series of meetings in Maputo, Mozambique, in mid-April. An Africa Mission Partners Consultation will be held April 17-19, focusing on the future of United Methodist mission on the continent of Africa. The agency’s board of directors meeting will be held April 20-22 and is the first board meeting ever held outside of the United States. It will include a commissioning of Global Mission Fellows, reports on several mission projects in the region, strategic conversations and site visits to local partner project sites. On the last day of the board meeting, directors will have a unique opportunity to interact with Global Ministries missionaries serving in Africa.
The African Mission Partners Consultation, the first held in several decades, will bring together African UMC bishops, representatives from each African UMC annual conference, members of the Global Ministries executive committee of the board, senior staff members and guests. They will engage in high-level conversations about the future of United Methodist mission in Africa with the goal of coming to a more integrated vision. Dr. Reggie Nel, dean of the faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, will provide a keynote speech for the consultation.
“Trusting that God has called us to God’s mission, and that with God’s help, our actions can bring new blessings and healing for God’s people, Global Ministries’ goal for the consultation is to look at the future of mission on the continent, develop a mutual understanding of each other’s work, and in particular, for Global Ministries to listen to and learn from its African partners,” said Roland Fernandes, general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief of The United Methodist Church. “Through these conversations, Global Ministries hopes to identify priority areas of work with African partners and develop new engagement in God’s mission in this new mission era.”
Global Ministries’ board meeting will immediately follow the mission consultation. Inspired by the theme “Spurred to Love and Good Deeds in Such a Time as This,” the meeting will be attended by members of the board of directors. Directors, who represent conferences and jurisdictions around the world, typically meet twice a year in committees and as a full board to review the agency’s work in its four mission priority areas: missionaries, evangelism and church revitalization, global health and humanitarian relief and recovery, including the work of UMCOR. The board has not met in person since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During our time in Maputo, we will consider expectations and projections being set forth for the future and the need for all of us to remain steadfast in the calm assurance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Consciously upheld by God’s constancy, we will strive to embody the characteristics of fidelity, of a church connected in mission today and in the future,” said Fernandes.
In considering the meetings held in Maputo, Global Ministries’ board chair, Bishop Hee-Soo Jung, quoted Hebrews 10:23-25 (NIV): “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
The board of directors meeting will begin with the commissioning of 18 Global Mission Fellows (GMF) at Malanga United Methodist Church in Maputo and will include welcoming remarks by several leaders of the agency as well as a greeting from Dr. Manuel de Jesus Didier Malunga, who serves as permanent secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Constitutional and Religious Affairs, for the government of Mozambique.
Board members will hear presentations about several projects: agriculture in the Mozambique South Annual Conference, Cambine Mission Station, Chicuque Rural Hospital and activities of the Mozambique Health Board and Disaster Management Office in Inhambane province. They will also visit several Global Ministries grantee locations in Maputo, including the Support Center for Girls with Need, founded by the Christian Council of Mozambique; Tsalala United Methodist Communitarian Center, a school and training center; and JustaPaz, a Mozambican nonprofit organization that advocates for the constructive resolution of conflicts and promotes good governance and human rights.
The board meeting will conclude with a worship service that includes missionaries from across the continent. Regional missionaries will then gather for several days of fellowship and meetings with key staff.
Business meetings will be conducted at the Southern Sun Hotel in Maputo, Mozambique. Press credentials can be obtained by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org (in Africa) or email@example.com (in the U.S. or elsewhere).
About the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church
Global Ministries is the worldwide mission and development agency of The United Methodist Church. Founded in 1819, Global Ministries today supports more than 200 missionaries in over 60 countries, including the United States. It has personnel, projects and partners in 115 countries. Founded in 1940, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is the global humanitarian relief agency of The United Methodist Church and is a part of Global Ministries. Learn more about Global Ministries by visiting umcmission.org or by following facebook.com/GlobalMinistries and twitter.com/UMCmission.
Dan Curran for Global Ministries/UMCOR