The World Methodist Conference is the largest gathering of Methodist, Wesleyan, United and Uniting Church representatives in the world. It takes place every five years and brings together members from more than 107 countries. This year, the conference took place in Houston, USA from 31 August to 3 September.
President of the Uniting Church in Australia STUART MCMILLAN offered the following reflection on his visit.
We gathered with thousands of sisters and brothers in Christ from 107 nations for the opening of the World Methodist Conference – ONE, in Houston, Texas, USA.
Having spent 24 hours getting here and only having one night’s sleep, I was wondering how I would stay awake for the evening opening worship. No problem! It was inspiring and rich worship. Thank you Rev Dr Amelia Koh-Butler for your creative gifts, together with the rest of the worship team from around the globe. It was wonderful to close with the Australian song “For You Deep Stillness”.
We were welcomed to this place by Peggy Larney, a Choctaw Nation indigenous woman and board member of the Native American International Caucus of the United Methodist Church in the US. Peggy urged us to pray for all Indigenous peoples who are struggling for land and water rights in their nations and to be honoured and respected as First Nation peoples. She especially mentioned the Sioux Nations peoples in the US.
The Conference included a trip to NASA’s Johnson Space Centre, which was awesome, and our opening worship speakers continued that theme.
Dr Jennifer Wiseman, astrophysicist and director of Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion for the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Rev Dr David Wilkinson, professor at St Johns College at Durham University in the UK, left us in awe with the topic: ‘Awesome Universe, Awesome God’.
There are 21 members of the Uniting Church in Australia here for the conference and some of us for the World Council Meeting following the conference.
The banner which Rev Dr Chris Walker and I presented on behalf of our Church is rich in its symbolism.
The cultural and linguistic diversity of this gathering of the Methodist family worldwide is indeed a sign and foretaste and it’s my absolute delight to share in this on your behalf.
So friends in Christ I look forward to the next few days of fellowship and deepening awareness of God’s church at work in the world.
Mägayamirri rom, Stuart.
Photo courtesy of World Methodist Council.