Atlanta, Georgia is one of the United States’ largest and fastest-growing cities and is now becoming a fixture in an increasingly-globalized world. It was in this city that the Steering Committee met to honour its past and look ahead to its future.
The Steering Committee looked towards 2015, voting to explore an initiative designed to make the General Secretary’s office more mobile. Next year the General Secretary anticipates working from both the Council headquarters in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina as well as in Johannesburg, South Africa. This arrangement will allow for the workings of the Council to be in its long-time home as well as within the global south, where the energy and fire of Christianity continues to grow.
In his report General Secretary Ivan Abrahams also challenged the Steering Committee to commit to the idea of business unusual and to re-think the Council’s mission and approach as a new quinquennium is near.
Through discussion, debate and prayerful discernment, the Steering Committee dealt with issues such as membership to the Council, the nominations process for officers in the 2016-2021 quinquennium, the Council’s finances and plans for the 2016 World Methodist Conference in Houston, Texas USA.
The Committee paused to honour Dr. H. Eddie and Mary Nell Fox for their tireless work for World Methodist Evangelism and the World Methodist Council with the Order of Jerusalem. The award is given to those individuals who have given dedicated leadership to the ministry of making disciples for Jesus Christ. For a quarter of a century this has been Eddie and Mary Nell’s mission. Now as their retirement begins, the Council congratulates them on a life of letting the world know Jesus Christ.
The Committee also had a chance to visit with three churches in the Atlanta area; West Mitchell Street CME Church, Cascade United Methodist Church and Shaw Temple AME-Zion Church. Within the walls of each building the Council was able to meet members of the local church family who engage in mission and ministry that is not only making lives in Atlanta better, but also impacting people in Haiti and Liberia. In each church the Steering Committee gathered for an evening of fellowship and information, sharing in the faith and humanity that bonds us all.
As the Steering Committee returned to their homes, the group has held true of the mission of the 2011-2016 quinquennium to bring about change to the way the World Methodist Council operates. This group, composed of individuals from all around the world has come together to help make the organization more transparent, more efficient and true to the roots of the World Methodist Council. With their minds full of the past and their heads and hearts aimed towards a bright future, the promise of a new and bolder Council is within sight.