United Methodists Welcome Global Relatives

While the 13 million-member United Methodist Church is broadly international, it is not the whole of Methodism. The denomination does make an effort to maintain ties with sister and brother Methodist churches or united denominations with Methodist roots around the world.

Representatives of 24 of those churches were welcomed as ecumenical delegates at the 2012 United Methodist General Conference, meeting in Tampa, Florida, April 24-May 4.

Bishop Sharon Rader, ecumenical officers of the Council of Bishops, noted in her introductions that with one exception the affiliated churches were started by through the missions of predecessors of the United Methodist Church. For various reasons, they became autonomous units that retain an affiliation.

The exception is the Methodist Church in Britain, the Methodist “mother church,” which along with three Methodist denominations in the Western Hemisphere have special relations with the United Methodists, giving them both voice and vote in General Conferences. The three are the Methodist Church of the Caribbean and the Americans and the Methodist Churches of Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Other autonomous affiliated churches have covenants with the United Methodist. They have voice in the General Conference. The ecumenical delegates were from a total of 14 autonomous churches in Latin America and the Caribbean and nine in Asia. They were presented to sustained applause on the night of April 25.

Notably present were delegates from the Methodist Church in Cuba and the Methodist Church of the Union of Myanmar, places where religious liberty cannot always be taken for granted.

Bishop Saw Shwe of Myanmar responded to the welcome on behalf of the ecumenical delegates. He said that his first General Conference was in 1984, where the affiliated group was seat in the back of the hall. “This year,” he said, “we are right at the front, seated not as guests but as part of the family.”

A full listing of the related churches and their delegates appears online at http://www.gc2012conversations.com/2012/04/26/ecumenical-delegates-to-general-conference/


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
Social Concerns
Bishop Julius C. Trimble. Photo by Tessa Tillett for the Indiana Conference.

'I believe in the resurrection and reparations'

Conversation, education, and truth and reconciliation are needed in the struggle to dismantle racism.
Social Concerns
Richard F. Hicks. Photo courtesy of the author.

Caught in a twilight zone of change

Even after the passage of civil rights laws, a white teen found change slow to come in the rural South of the 1970s.
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.