Message from Rev. John Calhoun Mission Advocate, Northeastern Jurisdiction

Message from Rev. John Calhoun Mission Advocate, Northeastern Jurisdiction


8/11/2016

Dearest friends,
 
Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!  I pray that you are well, and having a peaceful and joyful summer season.  Although each day brings reminders of the suffering and strife in the world around us, we also pause to give thanks to God for all His many blessings:  the gift of family and friends; access to abundant food, clean water, and advanced health care; and a faith that binds us together in peace and with hope for the future.
 
As Mission Advocate for the Northeastern Jurisdiction, it is my privilege and honor to represent the UMC Board of Global Ministries to the annual conferences, districts, and local churches of our jurisdiction.  This summer was a particularly busy time of advocacy, as I had the opportunity to visit six different annual conferences across the jurisdiction.  As is typical, my duties at each of these gatherings was unique.  At the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference, in Washington, D.C., I addressed the 200 invitees at a United Methodist Women's and Men's luncheon, then staffed a resource table and distributed information about Global Ministries and its programs.  At the West Virginia Annual Conference, held in the historic chapel of West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, WV, I attended the conference's missions committee meeting, then spoke at the laity session, promoting missionaries serving in the conference as well as missionaries from the conference serving in other locations.  
 
And at each annual conference I visited this summer, I had the pleasure of telling the stories of the more than 350 women and men in worldwide service today as Global Ministries missionaries.  As Mission Advocate, this is my greatest joy:  introducing members of local churches to those in mission service "from everywhere, to everywhere."  Missionaries like Dr. Belinda Forbes, who was born in Northern Ireland, raised in Massachusetts, and for the past 17 years has been supporting local health initiatives and providing essential dental care to impoverished rural communities in Managua, Nicaragua.  Missionaries like Innocent Afful, a native of Ghana who gained experience in social ministry in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and now represents Global Ministries as the director of an orphanage in cooperation with the Churches of Christ in the Congo (CCC), in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
 
Just last week, Global Ministries commissioned 43 Global Mission Fellows, young adults between the ages of 20 and 30 who will now be sent out to serve two-year mission assignments with partner ministries around the world.  These young men and women come from eleven countries, and will be serving in ministries in nineteen countries on five continents.  The Global Mission Fellows program exemplifies Global Ministries' commitment to engaging young adults in the church's mission:  "To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."  You may read more about these new missionaries, learn about where they will be serving, and watch a video of their recent commissioning:  http://www.umcmission.org/learn-about-us/news-and-stories/2016/august/0804jesuscalls.
 
Indeed, our missionaries around the world, like Belinda and Innocent and those newly commissioned, are transforming lives, by bringing a message of hope to those who live without hope.  And for this reason, many United Methodist congregations take great pride and joy in partnering with our missionaries.  There are a variety of ways that local churches support missionaries and their ministries:  

  • by entering into a Covenant Relationship, pledging financial and prayerful support for an individual missionary;
  • by donating via the Advance program in support of an individual missionary, the missionary community, or a project related to a missionary;
  • by encouraging young adult members to learn about Generation Transformation, Global Ministries' young adult mission service program.
In the same way, I encourage you and your local church to explore ways in which you might partner with our missionaries and the communities they serve, by following the links above, or by contacting me by email.
 
Lastly, as some of you have heard by now, Global Ministries is going though a period of transition, moving its global headquarters from New York City to Atlanta, Georgia.  As part of that restructuring, Global Ministries is also opening a number of regional offices around the world.  The July-August 2016 edition of New World Outlook, the mission magazine of Global Ministries, profiles these new regional offices, and the theological rationale behind this new way of being in mission.  The article is written by the Rev. Mande Muyombo, executive director of Global Ministries’ new Global Mission Connections unit.  You may find this insightful and informative article here:  http://www.umcmission.org/find-resources/new-world-outlook-magazine/2016/july/august/0712noperiphery.
 
Again, I thank you for your support for my ministry as Mission Advocate, and for your partnership with all those in mission service in our church.  Our missionaries in service around the world not only represent you, they are also an extension of you and the ministry you carry out in your local community.  Please continue to support all our missionaries, through your generous gifts and your compassionate prayers for their service.
 
May God bless you and your loved ones!
 
Yours in Christ,
John
 
Rev. John Calhoun
Mission Advocate, Northeastern Jurisdiction
General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church
phone:  (347) 276-5676
email:  jcalhoun@umcmission.org
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