Vital Conversations Series 2

The General Commission on Religion and Race of The United Methodist Church (GCORR) presents Vital Conversations 2 featuring thought leaders, pastors, theologians, activists, authors, and scholars from outside of the United States who share their stories, insights, and expertise on issues related to race, culture, tribe, and the global church.

Vital conversations are a direct connection between the three areas of GCORR’s Ministry Model–institutional equity, vital conversations, and intercultural competency–and the lived experiences of people around the world. Through these conversations, you are invited to engage in relevant and real conversations.

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    • Thank you for your comment and your concern for the Hmong communities in Southeast Asia. Always good to hear from you. Our mission personnel in the area and our regional staff are aware of the situation and often precarious conditions of the Hmong people. We keep them in our prayers. In mission together.

  1. Along the line of migrants: The congregation I serve in rural Missouri has a long-standing relationship with work in Mulunguishi , in the Dem. Rep. of Congo. There is now an immigrant community of Congolese in Kansas City, some leaders of whom are United Methodist. As we explore the possibilities of being partners in ministry together, it would be helpful to know of like situations and their experience.

  2. How can we model partnership that overcomes the understanding of power that overpowering people, that is competitive and in the end violent whether in the church and mission or outside?

    • Hi Romy. Thank you for your very difficult question. The use and misuse of power are matters of great complexity within and beyond the church. In my experience, one of the first steps in building partnerships of the kind you envision is to exercise the grace of listening–listening by all parties to the hopes and expectations, the fears and anxieties of all those involved. We can also study the models of the abuse of power in order to learn what not to do. In mission together.

  3. Shirley Edgerton on

    Thank you for this conversation. We GBGM Long Term Volunteers to Haiti and at one time considered an appointment in Cameroon. As Haiti is not United Methodist and considerably more conservative and orthodox our time in Haiti was very productive. Yet we could never overlook the more progressive and liberal mainline theology than the more conservative and orthodox belief of the Haitians we served. What we learned was that the “structure of the theology” in other words the interpretation of the personal aspects of the bible, take a back seat to the application of God’s love and light, and the radical compassion of Christ lived out in mission. How do we balance the need to be always “in mission mentality” while living in the political variations of the nations? This was our struggle not a question we ask for an answer. Thank you for the conversation.

    • Amen to your observations, and thank you for sharing your experiences. The political variations of nations are, I believe, aspects of our mission challenge in a world of diversity. In mission together.

  4. Thank you GCORR and thank you, Thomas for having this discussion and making it available to all of us. I feel that often we in the U.S. think and talk as though racism stops is only a domestic issue that stops at the water’s edge. We are a global church and serve a God who is no respecter of national boundaries. We need to confront and talk about the ways that racial identities and privilege still work themselves out in our mission work today. I am particularly interested in how we can confront these realities within the community of short-term missions through United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM).

  5. Hello Tom, thank you for your comment. Racism is, indeed, a global reality and nationalism is one of the major challenges to the concept of a universal church. I like your idea of addressing such overarching concerns in the UMVIM context, perhaps in training settings. In mission together.

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GCORR is building the capacity of The United Methodist Church to be contextually relevant and to reach more people, younger people, and more diverse people as we make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.