Commission helping United Methodist delegates with visa dilemma

United Methodist officials have expanded efforts to help international delegates gain entry into the United States for General Conference, the denomination's top legislative meeting.

According to information from the denomination's Commission on General Conference, many delegates who previously were unable to schedule visa interviews now have interviews scheduled.

Church officials had discovered that a large number of delegates from Africa and the Philippines had not obtained visas from the U.S. government to travel to the April 27-May 7 meeting in Pittsburgh. Directors of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, meeting March 22-25, agreed to urge United Methodist legislators in Congress to help solve the crisis and appealed to other United Methodists for assistance.

By early April, only five delegates from the Philippines and 10 of 12 delegates from Nigeria had been unsuccessful in scheduling appointments for visas or had been given an appointment date after General Conference concludes, according to the commission. Efforts continue to move appointments to earlier times to enable delegates to obtain the necessary visas in time.

The Commission on the General Conference is coordinating efforts to obtain visas for foreign delegates, working closely with staff from the Board of Global Ministries and General Council on Ministries.

The Rev. James Perry, commission chairman, representatives of the commission asked United Methodists to contact their U.S. representatives and senators to urge them to assist in cutting through bureaucratic red tape to obtain the needed visas for foreign delegates.

He added that U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, (R-Ind.), an active United Methodist who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, is working to obtain visas for delegates who have been refused entry by the U.S. Embassy Consulate Section. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, (R-Ill.), also has tried to provide assistance with visa appointments.

The Commission on General Conference has sent letters of invitation to delegates and embassies, indicating the denomination is responsible for the delegates expenses while in the United States.

News media can contact Linda Green at (615) 742-5470 or [email protected].

Related


Like what you're reading?  United Methodist Communications is celebrating 80 years of ministry! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community.  Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

umnews-subscriptions
General Church
Delegates from the Philippines and Southeast Asia sing during the 2019 United Methodist General Conference in St. Louis. Nearly 300 Filipino United Methodists joined a virtual conversation March 16 to talk about the Christmas Covenant and other plans for the future of The United Methodist Church. More webinars are planned for church members in Africa and Europe. File photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

Restructuring legislation gets a hearing

The drafters of the Christmas Covenant are leading webinars in the Philippines, Africa and Europe about their proposal for changing the denomination’s global structure.
Judicial Council
Bishop Sally Dyck presides over a discussion of the church budget during the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. After the 2020 General Conference was delayed, the board of the denomination’s finance agency asked the United Methodist Judicial Council for a declaratory decision on how to calculate the ongoing denominational budget and apportionment formula. File photo by Maile Bradfield, UM News.

New budget must wait for General Conference

The United Methodist Church’s finance agency lacks authority to set new guidelines despite postponement of church’s top legislative gathering.
General Conference
Jessica Vittorio. Photo courtesy of Jessica Vittorio

Closed-door meetings breed mistrust

Too often, important decisions at the church’s highest levels are being made in closed sessions that violate church rules about transparency, says one General Conference delegate.