Global Relationships Pre-Conference Consultation

29 June 2023

The Pre-Conference Consultation of the Global Relationships team of the Methodist Church in Britain took place on Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 June. Twenty representatives from partner churches around the world arrived in London to prepare for the Methodist Conference that was due to start later in the week in Birmingham.

The consultation is a chance to prepare representatives to participate and talk into the Methodist Conference.

The pre-consultation is also a chance to share about the work of Churches around the world and to learn about mission in the context of other countries, to hear of their successes and their challenges.

Partners were invited to share the topics that were of concern to them including issues around the environment, migrants and diversity.

Rachel Lampard, who has been coordinating the Walking With Micah Project, joined the consultation to share the work being undertaken to explore how the Methodist Church should becoming a more Justice-seeking church and Jude Levermore, Head of Mission, shared how the Methodist Way of Life is directing missional work within the Church.

Andy Dye, Global Relationships Programme Team Leader, commented, “It is important that we are facilitating conversations but not at the center of them. We are keen to hear the voices of our partners. For us, the pre-conference is about listening.”

“We have also had time to do a little sightseeing including Westminster Abbey, Central Hall Westminster and Wesley’s Chapel in City Road.  For some, this is their first time in the UK and being able to visit some of the locations key to the foundation of the global Methodist movement has been very exciting.”

One of those attending the pre-conference consultation was Pastor Leonardo Elias Paredes Rives from the Comunidad Cristiana Metodista de Venezuela who shared some of what is happening in his home church.

“Our church is 'Susanna Wesley' in the town of La Puerta, 1800 meters above sea level. It is a tourist area but there is much poverty and the issues of migration have caused a collapse in our community. As people have left the area there are children without their parents and older people without anyone to care for them.

“It is a daily struggle to find enough to eat. We offer both physical and spiritual bread, giving them the opportunity to socialize as well as feeding them to supplement their diet.  The environment is also important, the river that runs through the town is polluted, so we are an eco-church locally as we encourage people to take care of the river.

“We are here at the pre-conference as we have something to share with our brothers and sisters of our experience in Venezuela but we also have something to receive from them and from the Methodist Church in Britain.

“It is an honour to know that we are listened to here.”

The overseas representatives attending were:

  • Methodist Church Ghana, Most Revd Dr Paul Boafo, Mrs Helena Boafo (Spouse)
  • Methodist Church Zimbabwe, Presiding Bishop the Revd George T Mawire
  • Methodist Church of the Caribbean and the Americas, the Revd Jacqueline Liddell, Ms Shonika Liddell (daughter)
  • Comunidad Cristiana Metodista de Venezuela, Pastor Leonardo Elías Paredes Rivas
  • Iglesia Evangelica Metodista Argentina,  Bishop Fr Américo Jara Reyes, the Revd Maria Esther Andersen (spouse)
  • Methodist Church Hong Kong, the Revd Christine Man-ling To
  • Gereja Methodist Indonesia the Revd Runggu Hutauruk, Antoni Manurung, Mr Jatongam Nainggolan, Mrs Magdalena Sitanggang (spouse)
  • United Church in Solomon Islands, Mr Brian Bird, Mrs Dima Bird (spouse)
  • Methodist Church of New Zealand – Te Hāhi Weteriana o Aotearoa, the Revd Peter Taylor
  • UMC Central/Southern Conference, Mrs Lilla Kardosné Lakatos
  • Chiesa Evangelica Metodista d’Italia, the Revd Mirella Manocchio     
  • Igreja Evangelica Metodista Portuguesa, the Revd Eduardo Conde Almeida
  • UMC,  Mr David Field 
  • Methodist Church Ireland, the Revd Dr Laurence Graham