Thursday, January 8, 2015

UMC Communications in East Congo and Central and Southern Europe

Today's post is by UM & Global blogmaster Dr. David W. Scott, Assistant Professor of Religion and Pieper Chair of Servant Leadership at Ripon College.

Earlier this week, I wrote a post about whether or not all annual conferences, all around the world, should submit news reports of the proceedings of their annual conferences, as you can find here for most 2014 annual conference meetings in the United States and the Central and Southern Europe Episcopal Area.  I noted the challenges that face many annual conferences in the central conferences in terms of resources to produce such reports.

In a coincidence of timing, GBGM posted an article the next day that had originally appeared in the November-December issue of the New World Outlook magainze.  This article detailed the communication challenges facing the Congo East Episcopal Area.  These challenges, which include lack of internet connectivity, lack of equipment, and lack of infrastructure, are exactly the sort of challenges I had in mind when I wrote my piece on Tuesday.  It's nice to see them confirmed in a official news article.

The good news from the article is that Bishop Gabriel Unda has pledged to improve and develop the communications department of the Congo East Episcopal Area.  Much of that effort is focused on internal communication (including via radio broadcast), but perhaps with God's blessing on the bishop's efforts, we will see reports from the annual conferences in Congo East on the 2015 roll call of annual conference news.

The UMC in Germany also just published another relevant article, an interview with Bishop Patrick Streif of the Central and Southern Europe Episcopal Area.  The interview (in German) covers, among other things, the difficulties involved in supervising an area that stretches from North Africa and France to the Balkans and Poland.  Bishop Streif mentions the importance of central conference meetings and partner churches, but we may also presume that good communication is an important ingredient.  Perhaps that is why his episcopal area was the sole one outside the US to submit reports about their annual conferences - They know that sharing news and communicating is what allows the church to stay together across national and cultural borders.

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