On Friday, September 26 the Planning Team of the 21st World Methodist Conference gathered with representatives from the United Methodist Church, the AME Church, the Church of the Nazarene, and the AME Zion Church to officially launch the local planning committee in preparation for the event, which will be held from August 31 – September 3 2016.
“It has been thirty-five years since the World Methodist Conference was held in the United States of America. Since then many of us have been recipients of radical hospitality and copious hosting from our sisters and brother in Nairobi, Singapore, Rio de Janeiro, Brighton, Seoul and Durban. Now it is our turn to welcome the world to Houston,” said General Secretary Ivan Abrahams in his opening remarks.
The meeting was a chance for the World Methodist Council and the Texas Annual Conference to welcome representatives from other denominations to the Local Host Committee and to develop relationships as the work towards the World Methodist Conference continues. The attendees pledged to work together in order to make the Conference experience for those attending to be an easy and informative one.
“Full participation from all of the U.S.-based denominations in the World Methodist Council is one of the goals for the World Methodist Conference, and this luncheon is the first step in my dream of all of our churches coming to the party in Houston,” added Abrahams.
Attendees of the meeting included the World Methodist Council General Secretary Ivan Abrahams, Program Chair Sarah Wilkie, World Methodist Council CFO/Treasurer Kirby Hickey, Planning Team members Jeremy Bakker, Elizabeth Redman, Jorge Lockward and Jason Bugg, chair of the Local Host Committee Rev. B.T. Williamson, Ms. Jan Ervin, Rev. Chap Temple (UMC), Mrs. Christina Penrose (AME Zion), General Secretary of the Church of the Nazarene Dr. David Wilson, Mr. Claytie Davis (AME) and Dean and Professor of American Church History at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology Dr. William Lawrence.
During the next two years, the Local Host Committee will work alongside the Conference Planning Team to ensure the progress of the Conference moving forward. Some of their duties includes working with registration of attendees, organizing volunteers, helping to secure local sponsorship, as well as various logistical concerns.
“It is my hope and prayer that this conference will be the most inclusive one in the 135 year history of the World Methodist Conference,” said Abrahams.