Agency proposes communications initiative outside U.S.
7/24/2003 News media contact: Stephen Drachler · (615) 742-5411
DIEGO (UMNS) - To support the growing role of churches outside the
United States, the United Methodist communications agency will ask the
2004 General Conference to approve a new international initiative.
$2.3 million initiative would provide financial support for
partnerships between United Methodist Communications and the
denomination's central (regional) conferences in Africa, Europe and
Asia. The partnerships would develop culture-appropriate communications
ministries and training.
UMCom would work with central
conference bishops, communicators and other leaders to determine the
nature of the partnerships and provide support for the communications
The legislation drew a strong endorsement from the
central conferences representative on the communications commission,
which met in mid-July. "This proposal truly connects the central
conferences to the church. It will provide tools to the central
conferences to strengthen our connection. We want this," said Djamba
Mundeke of Kenshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
churches outside the United States is growing. Between 1991 and 2001,
United Methodist membership outside the U.S. grew by nearly 33 percent
to 1.5 million, according to data compiled by the church's General
Council on Finance and Administration. The United Methodist Church has
more than 10 million members in the United States, Africa, Asia (the
Philippines) and Europe.
It is important for the initiative to
focus on United Methodists outside the United States, said the Rev.
Elijah A. Stansell Jr., a commission member from Houston. "We need to do
some listening, some learning, some exploring and then find creative
ways to work with our brothers and sisters."
"The vitality of
communications in the central conferences is crucial to the United
Methodist Church," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, top staff member of
UMCom. "The voices of United Methodists outside of the United States
need to be heard. They can play important roles in their own cultures
and in communicating the Gospel around the world."
Conference petition proposes creating a separate fund for the Central
Conferences Communications Initiative. UMCom, based in Nashville, Tenn.,
would administer the fund.
General Conference, the denomination's top legislative assembly, will meet April 27-May 7 in Pittsburgh.
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