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
Violence
The Rev. William B. Lawrence.  Photo by H. Jackson/Southern Methodist University.

What would Jesus tell the US Capitol rioters?

The Rev. William B. Lawrence examines the claims of Scriptural authority by violent protesters who stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Racism
The Rev. Reginald E. Lee. Photo courtesy of the South Carolina Conference.

A birthday letter to Martin Luther King Jr.

On the occasion of the 92nd birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the Rev. Reginald Lee, pastor of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, penned a birthday letter to the civil rights icon.
Racism
M. Garlinda Burton. Photo courtesy of M. Garlinda Burton.

The content of our character

Leading into Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Religion and Race top executive calls for the church to address its institutional racism.