Marcos Nhantumbo (right) and Joseph Garkpee discuss ministries in their
annual conferences during a consultation of United Methodist church
leaders in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Marcos Nhantumbo (right), coordinator for the Mozambique Initiative,
and Joseph Garkpee, Christian education director in the Liberia Annual
Conference, discuss ministries in their annual conferences during a
consultation of United Methodist church leaders in Johannesburg, South
Africa. A UMNS photo by Barbara Nissen. Photo number 04-039, Accompanies
UMNS 036, 2/4/04
South Africa (UMNS) - African church leaders are entering a
collaborative effort with three United Methodist agencies to develop and
distribute resources for ministry in Africa.
a January meeting in Johannesburg with nine of the denomination's 11
African bishops, representatives of the denomination's publishing,
discipleship and communications agencies pledged support to the African
church's long-term effort to develop and access language- and
culture-appropriate Christian resources.
basic United Methodist print resources are available in Portuguese and
French, languages spoken in various parts of Africa, and lack of
financial resources often prevents their purchase and distribution.
principles of John Wesley are the same in any language," said United
Methodist Bishop João Machado of Mozambique. "But we need them in
Portuguese so the people can understand them, and we need to be able to
train Sunday school teachers in how to use them."
Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, top executive of the denomination's Board of
Discipleship, said she welcomes the "partnership with the African
church. It emphasizes the interdependence of the African central
conferences on one another to develop appropriate resources." The board
cosponsored the meeting, along with the United Methodist Publishing
House and United Methodist Communications.
discipleship board's South African Upper Room Ministries office "will
coordinate with U.S. agency staff the creation of a sustainable
indigenous resource development and distribution system for United
Methodist churches and episcopal areas in Africa," Greenwaldt said. The
office coordinates the publishing and distribution of daily devotional
guides in five languages, edited by staff in different regions of
options being considered include the development of English-, French-
and Portuguese-language teams, along with an all-Africa development team
to help develop resources in Africa.
Alexander, top executive of the United Methodist Publishing House, said
his agency will invest financial and personnel support to supply
"resources to bring about vibrant ministry … and to build capacity and
competence to develop resources."
needs described by representatives of the African central conferences
include enhanced communications capacity, such as through computer
programs, desktop publishing and use of radio.
delegates noted the "landmark" quality of the Johannesburg event, both
in the opportunity to develop a continent-wide plan of action and in the
collaborative efforts of the agencies to create materials and
partnerships for ministry.
partnerships formed from this meeting hold the potential for changing
and enhancing the scope of educational and communication capacities on
the continent of Africa and beyond," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, top
executive of United Methodist Communications.
communications agency is proposing to the church's top legislative
assembly, the 2004 General Conference, a Central Conference
Communications Initiative to discover and expand partnerships focusing
on communications with United Methodists in Africa, Europe and Asia,
Hollon added. The assembly will meet April 27-May 7 in Pittsburgh.
United Methodists in Africa account for nearly 20 percent of the denomination's 10.2 million members.
representatives included Machado and Bishops Onema Fama, Central Congo;
J. Alfred Ndoricimpa, East Africa; Jose Quipungo, East Angola; John G.
Innis, Liberia; D.P. Dabale, Nigeria; Joseph Humper, Sierra Leone;
Gaspar João Domingos, West Angola; and F. Herbert Skeete (interim),
of the United Methodist Publishing House were Fred Allen, executive
director of African-American Initiative/International Outreach, and Ezra
Earl Jones, director of congregational relationships.
with Greenwaldt, the Board of Discipleship was represented by Stephen
Bryant, editor/publisher, Upper Room Ministries and Discipleship
Resources; Wesley S.K. Daniel, director, evangelism and international
church development; and Roland Rink (Africa) and Dale Rust Waymack
(U.S.), coordinators, Africa Upper Room Ministries.
and Barbara Nissen, director of the Communications Resourcing Team and
UMCom training center, represented United Methodist Communications.
is editor for the Public Information Team and Nissen is director of the
Communications Resourcing Team at United Methodist Communications in
News media contact: Linda Bloom · (212) 870-3803 · New York