REFLECTIONS ON THE 21ST WORLD METHODIST CONFERENCE AND THE WORLD METHODIST COUNCIL
Presiding Elder Albert D. Tyson III, Columnist
The 21st World Methodist Conference and World Methodist Council (WMC) met in Houston, Texas, from August 30 to September 5, 2016 at the Hilton Americas-Houston. Since 1881, the WMC has brought together representatives from most major religious denominations claiming a Wesleyan heritage. Every five years, the WMC hosts a conference. In 2011, the Conference was held in Durban, South Africa. The theme for the 2016 World Methodist Conference was “One: God, Faith, People, Mission.”
General Officer John Thomas, III, Editor of The Christian Recorder, served the WMC as Youth and Young Adult Coordinator and Ecumenical Officer Bishop Frank Madison Reid, III led our delegation. Other leadership was provided by Senior Bishop McKinley Young, Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Bishop John Franklin White, and Bishop E. Anne Henning Byfield. Also in attendance were General Officer Rev. Garland Pierce, Executive Director of Christian Education and Retired General Officer Dr. Darryl Ingram. Bishop Sarah Frances Davis—who served as WMC Vice-President from 2011 until her death in 2013—was memorialized during the pre-Conference meeting.
For me, the highlight of the WMC with all of its workshops, seminars, and worship experiences was the sermon on Friday at 9:00 am, where Bishop McKenzie preached an awesome message from Mark 2:1-11 entitled, “What does your love look like?” It left the delegations from all over the world dancing and rejoicing in the aisles. Bishop McKenzie really preached!
The WMC was an opportunity to fellowship with Methodists from around the world and engage in dialogue on a variety of subjects touching on aspects of the human community and the global Wesleyan witness. The topics of discussion focused on “oneness” and how we could better come together as Methodists to address and provide solutions for some of the problems afflicting people all over the world. Members of the AME Church were well-represented in the workshops and panels participants who included, Rev. Dr. Michael Waters, who presented, “All I need is One Mic”: Freestyle Faith for a Fearless Generation;” Mrs. Jacqueline Dupont-Walker, who moderated with Rev. Stephen A. Green, who presented, “Social Justice Issues in North America;” and Rev. Dr. Jennifer Leath, who presented, “We Are + G*d Is + Justice Will Be Done: The Metrics of Justice for Contemporary Global Methodism.”
After the Conference, the WMC met to organize its leadership for the 2016-2021 quinquennium. Bishop John Franklin White was elected as Chairman of the Finance Committee and Bishop Frank Madison Reid, III was elected as a Finance Committee member.
The AME representatives for 2016-2021 for the WMC include Bishops Frank Madison Reid, III, McKinley Young, Adam J. Richardson, Vashti McKenzie, David R. Daniels, Jr., John F. White, Sr., Clement W. Fugh, Reginald T. Jackson, and Anne Henning-Byfield; General Officers Richard A. Lewis, George Flowers, Jeffery Cooper, John Thomas, III, Garland F. Pierce, and Daryl B. Ingram; Mr. Claytie Davis, Mr. Walter Jeffers, Ms. Martinique Mix, Dr. Shirley Reed, Mr. Chinelo Tyler, Presiding Elder Dwight Dillard, Presiding Elder Allen Parrott, Presiding Elder Albert D Tyson, III, Rev. Willie Barnes, Rev. Dr. Sharon Grant, and Rev. Dr. Taylor Thompson.