During the Monday afternoon session of Annual Conference, George Howard from the General Board of Global Ministries provided a report on 200 years of mission within The United Methodist Church.
The first Methodist missionary was a free Black man named John Stewart who was called to minister to the Wyandot Nation in the Upper Sandusky area of Ohio. He later became a licensed Methodist preacher who so inspired the Methodist Episcopal Church that they formed the first denomination-wide missionary society in 1819.
When the Wyandot People were removed from their land by the U.S. government in 1843, they deeded their ancestral burial grounds to the Methodist Church. This coming fall, on September 21, that land will be returned to the Wyandot in a ceremony involving tribal chiefs, Conference leadership, and Global Ministries staff.
Today, Global Ministries connects the Church in mission in four strategic ways: Missionaries, Disaster Response, Evangelism/Church Growth, and Abundant Health. Howard thanked The West Ohio Conference for their support of missionaries within the Conference and abroad; the $550,000 West Ohio gave to UMCOR in 2018; gifts of more than $57,000 toward new faith communities around the world; and for providing $89,000 toward health initiatives such as infant and maternal health.
We are all part of God’s mission and are both recipient and participant in God’s mission of redemption. “Without mission, the Church would not exist,” Howard concluded. “We exist for others – it’s not about dominating or using power, but about partnering with and standing alongside.”