Methodists for World Mission Conference

Report on the Methodists for World Mission Conference

held 2-4 June 2017 at the Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick

By Anne E Dyer 5 June 2017 One Mission representative for Sheffield District

You have your papers. You need to cross the border. You are not Syrian or Iraqi and so cannot get through Greece; you are stopped at the border with Macedonia. You wait; you depend on those bringing provisions.  The children cannot get to any school; they are missing out. Medical needs are met but at basic rates as the host nation is suffering from lack of supplies for themselves let alone tens of thousands of migrant guests.  Where next? You’ve had to come from dreadful situations in your home nation. Surely there is a better life somewhere else, for the children at least!

Methodists for World Mission discussed many of these situations and let experts or actual sufferers of forced migration speak. Awareness is one thing. Advocacy another. Action yet more. Are we simply moved emotionally or moved to act?

The theme of the MWM conference was Moving People: Moving stories – all on migration issues in the world and how to meet some of the migrants’ needs. Indeed, we heard many moving stories, moving us to tears and prayer.  Reports came in from a range of places-  the Mexican American border, the Karen now in Sheffield from the Thai border camps with Myanmar, Zimbabweans, Palestinian areas, Greek camps of migrants unable to move further into Europe, as well as Italy’s Lampadusa project where many migrants first land from Libya or Tunisia; British Methodism has had a major input to the latter group. Various experts, visitors with willingness to help, those who were refugees all contributed to this weekend. Bible studies were creatively presented by Tim Baker of All We Can [he coordinates this Relief and development arm of Methodism and beyond and is editor of the MWM magazine]; he had filmed Inderjit Bhogal who explained the biblical concept of sanctuary and the ‘migrant God’ from Genesis through the Bible. In between clips there were comments and group discussions.

Workshops took up Saturday afternoon with migration stories and accounts of seeing camps in various places. The evening was taken by the few young people’s presentation of the refugee story of the baby Jesus as a shadow play Indonesian style; then the troupe of Karen young people now living in Sheffield, the Zimbabweans, and David Frizzell the coordinator for World relationships for the Connexion. It was particularly fun for me to chat with the Karen using Thai language although they had good English. Some churches might invite them to share in a different sort of Harvest celebration or another Mission promoting service during the year. They are based at Hillsborough Trinity Methodist church, Sheffield.

The Sunday morning service was celebrated by ministers from Kenya now based in UK, and from Brazil now based in the USA but visiting the Italian migrant camps.  Our Karen guests read the scriptures. A global service.

We finished with Communion together, young and old having ‘migrated’ through different routes to the chapel. Each of us had ‘papers’ but some were confiscated, some were diverted on the journey. We are all migrants in a sense; do we then welcome so many others in their journeys, to join in with us as we seek to know our God who travels with us, providing all the help and grace we need. –

 

If you would like your One Mission rep to share more information on World and Local Mission and challenges to mission in your services please contact Anne, and then make arrangements with the Plan Coordinator for ‘your’ circuit.

Anne E. Dyer, is a Local Preacher and well experienced in Mission both long term within S E Asia and as a lecturer (Cliff College and Mattersey Hall College), and a leader of Short Term Missions of students. adyerdon@gmail.com