communication centers around globe|
Oct. 3, 2006
|A UMNS file photo by Mike Hickcox
Foundation for United Methodist Communications has raised funds to
establish a community radio station in Liberia and several central
conference communication centers.
By Kathy L. Gilbert*
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) -- Gifts from United Methodists in local
congregations and annual conferences in the United States continue to make
communication centers in Africa, Asia and Europe a reality.
The Mississippi Annual (regional) Conference raised $32,400 to build
communication centers in East and West Zimbabwe. The conference raised the
money despite the additional burden that Hurricane Katrina placed on
Mississippi churches and members.
The centers are being promoted through the Central Conference Communications
Initiative, a collaborative effort between United Methodist Communications
and leaders of the denomination's central conferences -- regional units in
Africa, Asia and Europe -- to improve communications and increase visibility
of the church around the world.
"The gifts of people in local congregations and jurisdictional annual
conferences in the U.S. that are supporting training and the purchase of
equipment are enabling the church to minister more effectively in central
conferences in Africa, Asia and eastern and central Europe," said the Rev.
Larry Hollon, top executive of United Methodist Communications.
The Rev. Larry Hollon
The Foundation for United Methodist Communications is raising funds to
establish communication centers in each United Methodist area. So far, the
foundation has received funds to establish a community radio station in
Liberia and conference communication centers in Central Congo, Cote d'Ivoire
(Ivory Coast), North Katanga, South Africa and Uganda.
The centers will be equipped with computers, cameras, Internet access, video
capability and other vital communication tools. Some communication networks
may include ham radios, handheld radios and community radio stations.
"It's especially important in this information age that the people of the
United Methodist Church are connected globally," Hollon said. "Even in this
age of instant communication, some of our leaders must still give a
hand-written letter to a long-haul bus driver and hope it gets delivered to
the proper person."
"Nothing can supersede communications in spreading the gospel," said Bishop
Eben Nhiwatiwa of Zimbabwe. "Communication is the hallmark of doing ministry
in all its various facets."
Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa
In addition to raising funds to establish communications centers, the
initiative provides training to build communication and computer skills for
central conference communicators.
Christian communicators in the Philippines will participate in a training
session Nov. 6-9 at Philippine Christian University. Under the theme,
"Communicating the Gospel in Today's World," the event will include basic
computer, journalism and photography courses taught by instructors at the
university and members of United Methodist Communications.
"The lack of ability to communicate effectively puts the church at a
disadvantage," said Hollon. "Training conference communicators and providing
basic tools for them to use is a first step in connecting the church both
in-country and globally."
|A UMNS file photo by Mike DuBose
Instructor Fidelis Zvomuya (right) shows Teddy Nabirye (left) and Phileas Jusu how to operate a digital camera.
United Methodist Communications staff will go to Zurich, Switzerland, Nov.
26-27, to meet with Bishop Patrick Streiff and representatives of
communication committees in the Central and Southern European episcopal
areas to talk about needs in their conferences. After this visit, the team
will have completed communication audits of all the episcopal areas in
Since the team's visit to Moscow, communicator Eduard Khegay helped launch a
Web site for the United Methodist Church in Eurasia,
site includes articles on worship, youth and children ministries and a
column by Bishop Hans Växby, episcopal leader of the area.
In June, 27 communicators from 11 of the 12 episcopal areas in Africa
participated in a two-week course of study to build their skills as
Christian communicators; study sessions were conducted at United
Methodist-related Africa University in Zimbabwe.
* Gilbert is a news writer for United Methodist News Service in Nashville
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or
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Central Conference Communications Initiative
Foundation for United Methodist Communications
The United Methodist Church in Eurasia