Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The World Is My Parish

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, believed this to be true.  His efforts at strengthening the faith in both those who professed Christianity as well as those who claimed no relationship with God surrounded the globe.  Much of this work was done following his death by followers who took up his methodical approach to Christian discipleship.

At one of the services, we
were told to take a selfie and
share via social media, "People all
over the world, join hands, start
a love train!"
Today the largest expression of Wesleyan faith, The United Methodist Church, spans the globe with churches in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. Our global gathering happens every four years at General Conference which happened earlier this year in May.  Our membership is at about 12.5 million members worldwide.  However, there are other Methodist denominations that are Wesleyan that are not a part of our denomination.  All of these make up over 80 million members worldwide and truly span the globe with churches in all of the six populated continents.

These Wesleyan churches began to gather in conference in the late 19th century and continue to meet for the World Methodist Conference once every five years.  I just returned from the 21st World Methodist Conference hosted in Houston, Texas where the theme was One: God, Faith, People, Mission.  It is always rewarding to meet new brothers and sisters who share similar ways of being Christian around the planet.  I had decided to attend this conference following the wonderful experience I had in Durban, South Africa in 2011 where the last one was held.  The next World Methodist Conference will be in 2021 in Sweden.  If you are interested in joining me, I would love to share more information with you.

The World Methodist Conference is overseen by the World Methodist Council, a body that is made up of 80 Wesleyan denominations from 134 countries.  For this quinquennium (a period of five years), I will serve as a delegate on the council.  I attended my first meeting on Sunday and Monday and look forward to sharing ideas with others from such a variety of cultures and places!

Of course it is good to be back to my local church.  I will be preaching on Luke 15:1-10 from the lectionary and my sermon title will be "An Economy of Grace".  If you miss it, you should be able to catch it on our church's Facebook page as we have started using Facebook live and our services are archived there.

In Christ,


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