Delegates travel far to be part of General Conference

Gulshan Titus traveled from Jaipur City, Rajasthan State, India, to attend the 2004 United Methodist General Conference, and so far it has been “an exhilarating experience.”

She only has one complaint.

Dressed in a beautiful magenta sari, she says, “I wasn’t prepared for the weather (which dipped to temperatures in the 30s some evenings). They should have warned me to bring warmer clothes!”

For several of the delegates to the quadrennial assembly, going back home for a sweater would take a few days.

It took Titus about 22 hours to arrive in Pittsburgh.

Humphrey Sarfraz Peters says traveling from his home in Peshawar Cantt, Pakistan, took more than 30 hours. Peters is the general secretary for the Methodist Church of Pakistan.

Librada A. Lozano had to spend the night in the airport at Manila as part of her travel ordeal. She left home in Davao City, Philippines, on April 23 and arrived in Pittsburgh on April 24.

The Rev. Paul Matheri, a delegate from the East Africa Annual Conference, says, “It was a long way to Pittsburgh.” He traveled from his home in Naivasha, Kenya, to Amsterdam to Detroit before arriving at General Conference.

Despite the distances and difficulties, everyone agrees that it has been worth the trip.

Peters says of the 140 million people living in Pakistan, only 2 percent are Christians.

“It is a very good feeling to come here and feel the presence of the body of Christ,” he says. “You know that you are not alone and you can share the Good News.”

Matheri says he has been a United Methodist for four years, and by “God’s grace” his church is growing.

“It is a very poor area, very dry, but the Christians there have the heart of giving,” he says.

“Seeing all the United Methodists coming from all over the world is a very big encouragement,” Matheri says. “We are members of a very big and strong body. When I go back home, I will tell my people we are not just this small family that we see here, but we are also members of a bigger body.”

Titus agrees. “I have never seen such a great gathering. It is a very nice experience.”

*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer.

News media contact: (412) 325-6080 during General Conference, April 27-May 7.
After May 10: (615) 742-5470.


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
Bishop Elaine J.W. Stanovsky presides as delegates hone their electronic voting skills during a practice election at the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Ore. In response to the Commission on the General Conference’s decision to further postpone the 2020 General Conference until 2022, the Council of Bishops has called a special session of the General Conference to be convened online on May 8, 2021. File photo by Paul Jeffrey, UM News.

General Conference postponed until 2022

Organizers have postponed the full General Conference, including proposals for a church split, until 2022 when delegates can meet in person. A special one-day, virtual General Conference is planned for May 8.
General Church
An international group of General Conference delegates invited fellow United Methodists to envision a better way to be the church. Based in part on that feedback, the group is unveiling a new vision map offering ways to make room for all at God’s table. Graphic courtesy of Out of Chaos, Creation.

Delegates map out vision for church future

An international group of General Conference delegates asked United Methodists around the globe to help imagine a better way to be the church.
General Church
An informal group of General Conference delegates holds the first of two webinars Dec. 1. The delegates discussed feedback they have received from United Methodists about casting a new vision for the denomination. Screenshot of Zoom meeting by UM News.

Delegates discuss mapping new church vision

General Conference delegates shared some of the international feedback they have received about The United Methodist Church’s future.