Paragraph 125 of our Book of Discipline tells us that: “United Methodists throughout the world are bound together in a connectional covenant in which we support and hold each other accountable for faithful discipleship and mission.” We are a global church.
At GCFA we take the global nature of our church seriously. GCFA has made it a priority to support ministries throughout the connection – both here in the United States and abroad through the many and varied ministries within our Central Conferences.
GCFA’s Board of Directors was in Cambodia recently for a board meeting. As we reviewed a number of Advance Special projects in that country, we were struck by the tremendous dedication and professionalism of the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) missionaries and staff in Cambodia – as we were with the passion of the congregations we visited while in Cambodia. The Cambodian church is a first generation church, much like the church was in the book of Acts. The fervor and love of Christ, and the deep desire for information gleaned from Scripture, was evident and soul inspiring.
Soon after the sojourn to Cambodia, I found myself at Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe – one of the biggest success stories in our denomination – as it was celebrating its 25 years of higher education ministry. At GCFA we are proud of our various endeavors with this special part of God’s World – and look forward to sending staff to Mutare in the near future to help the university revamp its IT infrastructure. One cannot visit Africa University and talk with the students and staff without coming away with a real appreciation of the global nature of our connection – and the good that, by the grace of God, is occurring throughout the world by those within the United Methodist connection.
These two powerful experiences, plus a continuing array of others, bring home the point that we are brothers and sisters in Christ no matter where we live – one church of believers. We have much to learn from one another. GCFA hopes that through its ministry of administration it can find ways to serve all who call themselves United Methodist – from the newest churches in Cambodia to institutions of higher learning in Africa …. And everywhere and everyone in between.
Together we can realize the gains of being one body while at the same time embracing our diversity, remembering that “We are the body of Christ. Each one of us is a part of it.” I Corinthians 12:27 (NIRV). Thanks be to God for the global nature of our church.
Steve Lambert, General Counsel, GCFA