For those of you who have read my prior messages in the First Friday Letter or have heard me speak, you’ll remember a familiar refrain: that the balance of Methodism is tipping to the global south. We see it in the number of believers growing and churches taking root throughout the region. As a citizen of the global south it is an exciting t to see this happing, and as a person who now spends a lot of time and energy in the northern hemisphere it is fascinating to watch the enthusiasm percolate north.
As General Secretary of the World Methodist Council, much of my time is spent travelling throughout the World and I am impressed with the spirit that I find in our youth. Recently I’ve visited colleges and seminaries in the Southeastern United States, and there is a tangible energy within the students that I meet, a palpable sense that the Church is going to do great things through these young leaders. I encourage this generation of Methodist leadership to remember 1Timothy 4:12 “Let no person despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity”. Great things are on the horizon for Methodism, and we need to look no further than our young people to see examples of that.
In March we also celebrated International Women’s Day, and in the United States March was Women’s History Month. I feel that we as a church forget our grandmothers, mothers, sisters and daughters who are often the glue that holds our church together. Some of the boldest voices within the World Methodist Council are those of women. I find it fitting that at the end of a month celebrating Women, the Council is blessed with two women who are stepping into leadership roles within our organization.
Gillian Kingston of the Methodist Church in Ireland has agreed to step in as interim Vice-President of the World Methodist Council. Since our previous Vice President, Bishop Sarah Davis’s untimely passing, and prayerful consideration and in conversation with Council President Bishop Paulo Lockmann and the Steering Committee, we approached Gillian Kingston to make herself available as interim Vice-President to complete Bishop Davis’ term. We believe that Gillian’s knowledge of the Council, her time as Program Chair to the 2006 World Methodist Conference in Seoul and her gifts and graces displayed as she stood in for Bishop Davis at the recent Council meeting in London has placed her in good stead to fulfill the role and make a seamless transition. On 1 April we installed Gillian as the Council’s interim Vice-President in a small ceremony in Dublin, Ireland.
On the same day across the ocean, the World Methodist Museum welcomed a new director to the organization, Ms. Sarah Beth Lee. Sarah Beth brings a passion for history and is already working hard to reinvigorate the World Methodist Museum and all the treasures contained inside into a premiere global ministry of the World Methodist Council.
These are exciting times for the World Methodist Council and Global Methodism. As the General Secretary of this organization, I trust that our best days are ahead of us. Strong leadership and new energy combined with the guiding hand of God will provide us with a bright future.
Grace and Peace