Readers of this blog will be interested to learn of a series of projects and events over the next couple of years celebrating the bicentennial of Methodist mission. The text for an announcement from Global Ministries about that bicentennial follows. More information about the bicentennial can be found at www.methodistmission200.org.
"Over the next two years a series of celebrations will recognize Methodism’s bicentennial of mission, which will occur in 2019 in accord with the 1819 founding of the Missionary Society by the Methodist Episcopal Church, a forerunner to The United Methodist Church. It is exciting that the year 2019 will also recognize the 150th anniversary of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society, also of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
"This will be a celebratory time not only for honoring mission in the life of the church, but also for drawing the church further into God’s mission. It will be a time to reflect on the practice of mission, within local churches, annual conferences, and throughout the Methodist family. What have Methodists learned from our past in mission? How is God moving among Methodists today? Where is God calling Methodists to go in mission in the future?
"From its beginning, inspired by lay persons, teachers, church leaders, and clergy in annual conferences, mission has grown to include evangelizing; starting new churches; alleviating suffering; building peace; empowering women; working for justice; training leaders in society; conducting medical missions; starting new schools, hospitals, clinics, and printing presses; and witnessing to the kingdom of God!
"For the celebrations over the next two years, there will be two key components.
"One component will be the collection of stories of Methodists in mission, especially from annual conferences and autonomous Methodist churches. Methodist around the world have stories about their historic participation and current work in mission. Methodist scholars and students, annual conference and autonomous church leaders, and clergy and laity engaged in mission are invited to submit their stories. Collecting and celebrating these stories will be an important means of understanding the many faces of Methodist mission. A website, www.methodistmission200.org, will gather and share these stories.
"The bicentennial will also include a world conference of mission leaders and scholars. Sponsored by Global Ministries, in collaboration with Candler School of Theology of Emory University in Atlanta, GA, USA, the conference will be called “Answering the Call: Hearing God's Voice in Methodist Mission Past, Present, and Future.” It will be held in Atlanta, GA, USA, at the Emory University Conference Center Hotel, April 8-10, 2019. The conference will celebrate Methodism’s mission heritage and look to the future of mission. A call for papers is available at http://bit.ly/2rAMEQw
"The dates for the conference were chosen to coincide closely with the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Missionary Society on April 5, 1819, formed to support the work of John Stewart, a free African-American, among the Wyandotte Native American people of Ohio.
"Questions about the bicentennial may be sent to Dr. David W. Scott, Director of Mission Theology, Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, [and blogmaster for this site] at dscott (at) umcmission.org."