Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Last month the Steering Committee of the World Methodist Council met in Houston where we made final preparations and began the countdown for the 21st World Methodist Conference. There are now less than 350 days to go to the Conference which promises to be the most inclusive in the 135 year history of the Council. Our Steering Committee was able to see and tour the conference centre and we have included some highlights as a “preview” to next year’s event venue.
Many people have been nominated by their churches to attend the Council meeting and to participate in the Conference. The next step is to register before the early registration rate expires on 1 April 2016. Council members will soon receive their invitation codes to register for the council meetings (prior to and following the Conference), and the Conference registration is open for anyone to attend. We will gather at the Hilton America’s, Houston, Texas from 31 August to 3 September 2016 under the theme ONE with sub-themes each day including One God, One Faith, One People, and One Mission.
On 20 September, there was standing room only at the World Methodist Museum, Lake Junaluska as a chest of draws belonging to the Reverend John Wesley was unveiled. The museum houses a treasure trove of John Wesley artifacts including a travelling pulpit, letters, a lock of hair and a copy of his death mask. Next year marks the 60th Anniversary of the museum and we are planning some exciting opportunities for churches and individuals around the world to share in our rich Methodist heritage.
Many of us followed the Pope Francis’ historic visit to Cuba and United States and with keen interest. From his meetings with political leaders and parishioners in Havana, Washington, New York and Philadelphia he shared the gospel values of humility, compassion and the integrity of creation. The Reverend Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church was among those invited to greet Pope Francis on the White House Lawn.
The World Methodist Council has consistently highlighted the plight of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. We celebrate the creative efforts of European Methodist Churches. In this issue, the past President of the British Conference the Reverend Dr. Inderjit Bhogal offers a resource that prompts reflection on the theme of hospitality and sanctuary.
Your partner in mission and ministry,