50TH ANNIVERSARY: OUR GROWTH
50 Highlights through 50 Years
Denver, Colorado United States – World Methodist Evangelism is launched when the World Methodist Council declares: “It is time for all the people called Methodists to go on World Mission and Evangelism together! We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ’s Commission to His church to preach the Gospel and to make Disciples is the supreme business of the Church. God through the Holy Spirit is calling the Methodist people everywhere to a strengthened and sustained thrust in world mission and evangelism.”
Worldwide Conferences on Evangelism are held in every region and continent.
Africa – Ghana
Asia: India and Singapore
Caribbean and Americas – Bahamas
Europe – Switzerland
South America – Brazil
North America – USA
World Methodist Convocation on Evangelism is held in Jerusalem. Over 3,000 Methodists gather in Shepherd’s Field near Bethlehem to commit themselves to spreading the same good news which the angels declared to the shepherds, “A Savior is born.”
New World Mission is launched in North America. These were weekend events where trained lay and clergy would go into churches for big evangelistic/mission celebrations. They would teach/preach on a variety of things over the weekend and also have opportunities for evangelistic outreach.
Sir Alan Walker, a distinguished church and national leader from Sydney, Australia is named as the first World Director of WME. He serves in that capacity until 1988.
Truro, England – World Methodist Evangelism holds the first International Christian Youth Conference on Evangelism. Over 800 young adults gather from 47 countries and for the first time, black and white young adults from South Africa are permitted to travel together to attend.
World Methodist Evangelism Institute is founded by Dr. George Morris. The Institute is a collaborative ministry of WME and Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Together, the Institute and WME will host regular, annual seminars all over the world, with the first held in Africa and attended by people from 32 different countries.
Nassau, Bahamas – 2nd International Christian Youth Conference on Evangelism
Sir Alan and Lady Winifred Walker receive the World Methodist Peace Prize
An Australian couple who shared a lifetime of ministry which emphasized moral and spiritual transformation and reconciliation, Sir Alan and Lady Winifred Walker worked as evangelists and emissaries of peace on six continents. Alan Walker believed that the greatest cause of the war was that people believed in war. He noted that until slavery as an institution was rejected, slavery remained. He preached that peace would not come as long as the world accepted war as a means of settling the human conflict. Sir Alan served as the First Director of World Methodist Evangelism from 1978 to 1989.
Sydney, Australia – 3rd International Christian Youth Conference on Evangelism
Regional Secretaries are selected to advance the work of WME throughout the world and gather for their first world meeting.
“Through Christ, Africa can have life in all its fullness and there can be healing of the land. This is our prayer in World Evangelism.” (Dr. H. Mvume Dandala, Regional Secretary, Africa-South, Presiding Bishop, Methodist Church in Southern Africa)
“We are seeing World Evangelism move with a clear vision for spreading the Gospel across our continent. We can change the world through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” (Bishop Lawi Imathiu, Regional Secretary, Africa-West, Presiding Bishop, Methodist Church Kenya)
Dr. H. Eddie Fox is named as World Director of WME following the retirement of Sir Alan Walker.
“We must take seriously the Great Commission, the spreading of the Gospel, and we must take seriously the Wesley claim, ‘the world is my parish.’” (Eddie Fox at his commissioning)
Mexico – 4th International Christian Youth Conference on Evangelism
WME is invited to meet with Gorbachov when he is awarded the World Methodist Peace Prize from the World Methodist Council. Dr. Maxie Dunnam, Chair of WME at the time, along with Bishop Sundo Kim, then WME Regional Secretary in Asia attended a meeting where Bishop Kim closed the gathering by praying for Gorbachov. WME did not organize the meeting but was one of several different organizations in attendance. WME’s leadership is and has been part of many significant world events.
Mikhail Gorbachev received the award for his creativity as a catalyst influencing massive global changes through new international initiatives, including the introduction of “glasnost” to the world, and for his work to free religious bodies in the U.S.S.R. from laws restricting the free exercise of religion, Mikhail Gorbachev became the third non-Methodist to receive the Peace Award. He reinforced persuasively the notion that dialogue is always preferable to war. He was cited for his contributions to human understanding, international stability, and a changing world.
Prayer and Fasting Community is formed. Weekly messages encourage the Wesleyan Methodist family around the world as they fast and pray in the pattern of John Wesley. Members of WME’s Prayer and Fasting Community take no solid food from Thursday evening until Friday evening, praying that the Methodist movement might become a channel of Holy Spirit transformation around the world.
Regional Evangelism Seminar August – Lohusalu, Estonia – World Methodist Evangelism Institute and WME host seminar entitled “Proclaiming the Good News to All Creation”
Hamburg, Germany – 5th International Christian Youth Conference on Evangelism. 750 young adults from 48 different countries gathered, including 100 from former Soviet Bloc countries in Eastern Europe.
Tallinn, Estonia – WME partners with the Methodist Church in Estonia to found the Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary, and the World Methodist Council hosts its executive meeting in September.
“The ‘wide-opening door’ about which Dr. Eddie Fox often speaks, is a window through which we are seeing the emergence of new congregations, new life, and new hope! When we look at World Evangelism, we can only stand back and say, ‘This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our sight.’” (Joe Hale, General Secretary, World Methodist Council)
Order of the FLAME (Faithful Leaders As Mission Evangelists) formed. This North American gathering of young clergy and their spouses has continued annually, training over 2500 leaders to be mission evangelists in their communities. FLAME communities have also been formed in Africa and Ireland.
“As a new pastor, the Order of the FLAME event was instrumental in shaping my approach to evangelism, Christian spiritual formation, and leadership. In four years, the membership of our church increased by over 25%, which I attribute to the practices and teachings I learned at the Order of the FLAME. In addition, the passion for Jesus Christ exhibited by the leaders at the Conference was sincere, enthusiastic and contagious.” (Rebecca Mincieli)
“The Order of the FLAME was a turning point in my ministry. I was challenged in the way I preached and how I viewed the church. It helped personalize the Great Commission. Since the FLAME, I’m very intentional about ‘offering them Christ.’ We expect and see new commitments to Christ every week at Harvest Church. I used to be surprised if someone did make a commitment to Christ, now I’m surprised if they don’t.” (Jim Cowart)
“The Order of the FLAME conference was a gift from God. As such, it came at just the right time in my life and ministry. The conference was informational, inspirational, and transformational. The anointing of the Holy Spirit was so heavy that my heart was completely open to receive God’s messages. The ministry God called me to has been reinvigorated. I did not leave on a spiritual high, inspired without knowing what to do next. I was given information and tools to execute these missions in my own ministry.” (Roderick Belin)
St. Simons Island Georgia, United States – 6th International Christian Youth Conference on Evangelism
1999 / 2000
Dawning of the Millennium – Tonga
The whole Tongan royal family participated along with representatives from WME. Based on the international datelines, one of their islands is the very first place the sun hits when it rises. The event celebrated the “absolute beginning” of the new millennium there 1/1/2000. Then that afternoon, the group left Tonga and flew across the dateline to Samoa where it was still 12/31/1999. They then celebrated the new year there, too.
“God has raised up the Methodist Movement not for its own sake, but for the world’s sake. In this Dawning Millennium, let the people call ed Methodist ‘spread through all the earth abroad the honors of Jesus’ name.’” (Eddie Fox)
Tallin, Estonia – Regional Evangelism Seminar – World Methodist Evangelism Institute and WME host seminar for the Baltic/Nordic region entitled “Christ Jesus: The Heart and Soul of Evangelism. Communicating the Gospel Today.”
Newtown Abbey, Northern Ireland – 7th International Christian Youth Conference on Evangelism
Faith Sharing New Testament with Psalms in the Estonian language was published.
Leadership Summits in Asia (Singapore) and the Americas (Cuba)
The gathering in Havana, Cuba included more than 120 leaders from 20 countries and 26 Wesleyan Methodist denominations in North America, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
Tallin, Estonia -Faith Sharing Seminar in Baltic Mission Center – World Methodist Evangelism Institute and WME host seminar entitled “Faith Sharing.”
Fiji – Leadership Summit for the Pacific
Atlanta, Georgia, United States – Leadership Summit for North America
England – Leadership Summit for Europe
Order of the FLAME launched in Africa
Meru, Kenya – Africa East
Teresopolis, Brazil – 8th International Christian Youth Conference on Evangelism
Sete, France – Leadership Summit for Francophone Europe
Korea – 9th International Christian Youth Conference on Evangelism
WME Celebrates 40th Anniversary
Rev Dr. Kimberly Reisman named the new World Director following the retirement of Dr. H Eddie Fox.
Rev. Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, WME Board Member, and founder, and former CEO (1996-2008) of World Hope International receive World Methodist Peace Award.
20th Anniversary – Order of the FLAME in North America.
Epworth by the Sea, St. Simons Island, GA USA
Embrace – Showing and Sharing the Love of Christ published. A faith-sharing resource to help you share your faith with boldness, confidence, and grace.
Costa Rica – The 10th International Christian Youth Conference on Evangelism gathering was held in Alajuela, Costa Rica after an eight-year lapse. The gathering is now called Metanoia, which means “transformation” and is translated as the same word in all languages
WME invited for an audience with Pope Francis. The Executive Director of WME sits on the steering committee of the World Methodist Council, and the Council is involved in ecumenical dialogues with other religious groups – in this case, the Roman Catholic Church. This event marked the 50th anniversary of the beginning of those ecumenical talks. WME has a high profile in these kinds of international/ecumenical happenings.
Residency in Mission (RIM) program launched with the first resident to New Zealand.
Real Faith~Real World podcast begins.