Tag Archives: Travel

Georgia, England, Costa Rica: World Methodist Evangelism Gatherings

World Methodist Evangelism has been hard at work preparing to meet you on the road during 2018. Our events in the upcoming year promise to be times of connection, equipping, and transformation. Take a look at our upcoming gatherings and see if there’s one for you.

Our annual invitational faith sharing conference for North American clergy and clergy spouses of multiple denominations is gathering at St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, a historic Wesley location tucked on the Atlantic under towering oaks and rustling Spanish moss. The Order of the Flame evangelism conference welcomes leaders from denominations like the United Methodist Church, the AME Zion church, the Church of the Nazarene, the CME church, the Wesleyan Church, the AME church, the Free Methodist Church, and more.

If you have attended this conference in the past, we welcome you to reconnect with this vibrant community in a time of worship, connection, learning, and vision casting. Denominational leaders are still welcome to nominate clergy members to participate here.

In June, young and emerging leaders in the global Methodist family of faith will gather in beautiful Costa Rica for our Metanoia conference, formally named ICYCE. This gathering of young people from around the world has convened every several years for over 30 years and longstanding relationships have grown and flourished from it. Registrations have already begun to pour in from multiple continents, and we are excited to foster relationships among young Methodists of many denominations from across the globe.


The complex dynamics of living missionally in a postmodern, post-Christendom context will be probed and dissected in the beautiful, historic setting of the University of Durham this August in a brand-new gathering called Convergence. Leading thinkers and practitioners will discuss compelling issues like the relationship between science and faith, the monastic and the missional, globalization and migration, and more. This is an open event for clergy and church leaders. Following a time of equipping in Durham, participants are also welcome to engage in a Wesley heritage tour including stops in Epworth, Bristol, and London.

Registration for Convergence is now open and we invite you to learn more here.

Keep up with more World Methodist Evangelism events by following our Facebook page (check your newsfeed settings to make sure you continue to see regular updates from your favorite organizations following recent changes in Facebook algorithms) or our Twitter account.

World Methodist Evangelism Director Visits Vatican to Meet Pope


Dr. Kimberly Reisman Joins World Methodist Council Delegation to Vatican 

Vatican City – October 23, 2017  World Methodist Evangelism Executive Director, Dr. Kimberly Reisman, traveled to Italy last week with a World Methodist Council delegation to mark 50 years of Methodist-Catholic dialogue. 

According to a statement by the World Methodist Council, on Thursday, October 19, “a delegation consisting of the World Methodist Council (WMC) Steering Committee, Pastor Mirella Manocchio – President of L’Opera per le Chiese Evangeliche Metodiste in Italia (OPCEMI), as well as members of the Methodist Roman Catholic International Commission for dialogue (MERCIC) met with Pope Francis in the Consistory Hall at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, Rome. Bishop Ivan Abrahams, General Secretary of the World Methodist Council, delivered an address to the Pope, to which the Pope responded.” 

World Methodist Council General Secretary Dr. Ivan Abrahams commented in his address, “Catholics and Methodists have much to learn from each other. We walk side by side, each in service to the world in our response to climate change, human trafficking, abuse of human rights and global terror. In our responses to these challenges, we are called to be a church with fast feet and extended hands, to be in solidarity and embrace the poor and marginalized.” 

Pope Francis noted that, “when we see others living a holy life, when we recognize the working of the Holy Spirit, in other Christian confessions, we cannot fail to rejoice.” He further noted, “when, as Catholics and Methodists, we join in assisting and comforting the weak and the marginalized – those who in the midst of our societies feel distant, foreign, and alienated – we are responding to the Lord’s summons.” 

Dr. Reisman and the delegation closed the day in an ecumenical evening prayer marking the occasion led by His Excellency The Most Reverend Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. 

Formal Methodist-Catholic dialogue began in 1967. 



Shirley Dominick 


PO Box 8142 

Lafayette, IN 47903 USA 


Five Things I Learned at the End of the Earth

Original Image has been removed to avoid copyright infringement.

We often hear exciting things about evangelism and the spreading of the gospel in Africa or other places in the Global South or East. For those of us in the secularized Global North and West, it can seem discouraging. And yet, people are being transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit everywhere – even in places where the culture is highly secular and the church is small.  

New Zealand is one of those places. 

I had the opportunity to visit New Zealand last month. Richard Waugh, our Regional Secretary for the Pacific region, says New Zealand is the place Jesus is talking about when he says his followers will be his witnesses “…to the ends of the earth.” That rings so true! New Zealand is literally at the end of the earth – the last inhabitable landmass to be settled by human beings, only about a 1,000 years ago. 

New Zealand was also the furthest ripple of the Wesleyan revival when in 1823 Rev. Samuel Leigh set up only the second Christian mission of any kind in the country. Our Wesleyan family has been present ever since – first as Wesleyan Methodists, Primitive Methodists, United Free Methodists, and Bible Christians. Now the John Wesley family of churches present in New Zealand includes The Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand, the Methodist Church of New Zealand, the Church of the Nazarene, the Chinese Methodist Church of New Zealand, Korean Methodist churches, Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga churches, Samoan Methodist Conference churches, Tongan Wesleyan Methodist churches, and Evangelical Samoan Wesleyan Methodist churches. 

What a diverse family! All laboring on behalf of Jesus Christ in one of the most highly secularized countries in the world. 

And New Zealand is definitely secular and diverse. Currently the top 19 most non-religious countries in the world are all non-English speaking countries – think North Korea, Estonia, and the Czech Republic. But the 20th most non-religious country – and the first English-speaking one – is New Zealand. In 2013, 41.9% of the population said they were “non-religious.” In the United Kingdom it’s 37.9% and in Canada it’s 23.9%. The United States is well below that. New Zealand is also culturally diverse, especially its largest city, Auckland. In 2016, Auckland, with a population of 1.5 million, had the fourth largest foreign-born population (39%), which makes it more diverse than Sydney in Australia, Los Angeles in California, London in England, or New York City in New York. The only cities that are more culturally diverse are Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Brussels in Belgium, and Toronto in Canada.  

So what can we learn about evangelism from the small but growing Wesleyan family in New Zealand?  

Quite a lot: 

1) When 41.9% of the population are self-proclaimed non-religious people, the mission field is huge! Couple that with the diverse presence of migrants, many of whom bring a strong commitment to Christian faith with them, and you have a dynamic environment ripe for the work of the Holy Spirit. 

2) The gospel is always a countercultural movement. When there is little to distinguish people of faith from those who claim to be non-religious, the gospel becomes a mere shadow of itself. There are a wide range of norms, moral commitments, and social and political understandings in every culture in the world. Some of these are consistent with the gospel and others are not. The growing churches in New Zealand have recognized that if, as we follow Jesus in our daily lives, in our communal life together, and in our engagement of the community around us, others are not able to see a uniquely different way of being in the world, our evangelism will always fall flat, or we will not evangelize at all. 

3) Cultural diversity requires new expressions of church and a commitment to church planting. The gospel is spread not as often by leading congregations toward their own growth, but by leading congregations to multiply themselves, birthing new congregations and fresh experiences of church. 

4) Evangelism is a “long obedience in the same direction.” We must walk with people for a long time if they are to come into a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. This is true in secularized environments like New Zealand but equally true in other environments as well. If we don’t care enough about people to walk with them as they journey through life, then we likely are not as committed to sharing our faith as we think we are. 

And finally, 

5) We must begin to take third-culture people seriously. In many places in the world, there are people who have their feet in more than one culture: the children of migrants who are growing up in a “new” culture, but whose family is steeped in their culture of origin; minorities who live in both the culture unique to their ethnic group and the dominant culture of their environment. Young people all over the world are often third-culture people – living in a culture of globalization and technology, while at the same time navigating the “old world” norms of their elders. These third-culture people are also multilingual. Whether it be the subtler differences of the language of youth or a particular ethnic group, or the more obvious differences of a completely separate language like English, Swahili, Portuguese, or Samoan, these people are able to speak multiple languages because of their presence in multiple cultures. 

This is of particular importance for evangelism, not simply for communication, even though that is paramount, but for leadership. The kingdom of God needs third-culture leaders – those who understand the importance of building bridges from one culture to another, who understand what it means to be in between worlds, whether those worlds be cultural, generational, economic, or linguistic. 

Our brothers and sisters at the ends of the earth have discovered some important insights about evangelism. I dare say they are not unique to New Zealand, but are applicable to many other parts of the world as well. 

Our mission field is great, no matter where we live. If we are willing – in all parts of the world – to walk with people, caring for them while we follow Jesus in tangible ways that can be seen and experienced; to risk multiplication, birthing new churches and ministries beyond our own congregation; and if we are willing to invest our time and energy in mentoring leaders to be bridge-builders into the lives of others, space will be created for the movement of the Holy Spirit and people will be transformed everywhere





On the Road: Witness in Central Asia

Reflections from my travel journal:

The other day I preached. The church was packed to overflowing – so many kids and young people! It was Communion Sunday, which is a time when they allow young adults to practice preaching. Three young women preached before I ever got up! One on persistence in prayer even when we don’t receive what we are asking for, one on the danger of sin, and one on the church as a temple for God. The woman who preached on prayer became a Christian a few years ago. She began praying for her husband to accept Christ but ultimately he told her to choose between him and “her God.” When she chose God, he left her and their two sons to fend for themselves.

Many people here are nominal Orthodox in the same way that many Christians in the US are nominal. It’s more of a cultural thing. This nation is also about 80% Muslim – there are over 2,000 mosques – and Saudi Arabia is funding the building of new mosques. Interestingly, there are a number of nominal Muslims – which may be why the Saudis are so keen. For Protestant Christians, local churches must register with the state. A group cannot be considered a registered church unless you have at least 200 members. If you are not registered, you cannot legally gather for worship. Evangelism by churches in the other category is prohibited: they are not allowed to invite people to church or have foreign visitors for religious purposes.

Today we baptized a young man who is 24 years old. He and two other young men (19 and 21 years old) came to the seminar with their pastor Igor (who is also pretty young!). The man who was baptized oversees the education section of the community center in his town.

Seminar participants are so committed to faith and evangelism. Inspiring! If you want to be Christian here you have to be incredibly committed.  Several of the young adults are attending the seminar with their pastor.

On the Road: Faith in Kyrgyzstan

It’s a joy to work with Wesleyan Methodist leaders from around the world, partnering where the Holy Spirit leads and equipping members of our faith family. Kyrgyzstan – tucked between China and Kazakhstan, north of Pakistan and India – is the latest location to which World Methodist Evangelism has traveled.


Dr. Winston Worrell of the WMEI (second from left) and Dr. Kimberly Reisman (far right) with regional Wesleyan Methodist leaders in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.


Victory Square in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan


The domed roof and minaret of a mosque in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan


Opera and Ballet Theater in Bishkek


Mountains tower and border the views from the streets of Bishkek


On Bridges and Barriers

Recently I taught at an evangelism seminar for pastors in Mexico. So much of evangelism is about building bridges and breaking down barriers in order to reach out to others on behalf of Jesus Christ. It was a good conference. Connections were made, language barriers were overcome, relationships of friendship and trust were created, and most importantly, the Holy Spirit moved and people were empowered to act.

I’m reminded of a little book of essays I received a few Christmases ago called, A Writer’s Paris: A Guided Journey for the Creative Soul by Eric Maisel. One of my favorite of Maisel’s essays is one in which he talks about the footbridges of Paris. Bridges in Paris aren’t miles long and clogged with traffic, although there are some that are purely functional – all steel and cement. Most of them, however, are short and sweet, inviting a lingering stroll with a relaxed stop to watch the world go by. Many have been there for hundreds of years, evolving from footbridges, to heavily trafficked pathways and back to pedestrian walkways.

Bridges are fascinating things. I remember seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco for the first time. What an awesome construction! And the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, with all its lights. The awesomeness of these bridges reminds me of the awesomeness of the task of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with others. The gulf we need to cross can seem so great – a huge gap between our experience of the love and acceptance we receive in Jesus Christ and the experience of suspicion and rejection we often experience in the world.

Maisel’s words about the bridges of Paris teach me something about scale. He writes about writers, saying, “You want to show a war, but you must show a battle instead. You want to prove the greatness of a great love, but you can’t do it through hyperbole – you can only do it by a careful noticing of the way your lovers hold hands.” He goes on to recount a time when he found himself on the Pont Saint Louis near a 30-year-old man and his 60-year-old mother. The son was pouring out his heart to his mother. After describing their conversation, Maisel says, “The setting has allowed him to speak. This conversation never could have occurred in their living room, at the supermarket, or at the Louvre. This bridge creates a place safe enough for a boy to speak to his mother.”

Maisel is right. It’s not about the awesomeness of the bridges. It’s about the intimacy. It’s about the way the footbridge subtly draws you to the middle to stop and absorb what’s going on around you, to see how the water flows, how the streets lead to and from, how the buildings grow up and out.

It may just be that we don’t make connections between our experience of being in relationship with Jesus Christ and the experience of the rest of the world through massive efforts and structures. It may just be that it’s about the intimacy of crossing a footbridge to meet another in the middle.

Maybe evangelism is not as much about creating grand strategies and programs as it is about making connections of love and trust in the individual relationships we encounter in our daily lives. Maybe it’s not about proving the great love God has shown in Jesus Christ through hyperbole, but by noticing the way Jesus comes to us as a lover – holding our hand, easing our fears, forgiving our faults and shortcomings – loving us anyway. Maybe it’s about creating places like the bridge where the son was able to talk with his mother, places that are safe enough for us to talk about our faith, the meaning that it has brought to our lives, the difference Jesus Christ has made in our experience of the world.

We live in a time when bridges are one of our greatest needs, but barriers seem bigger and more prevalent than ever. In that kind of environment, what bridges are we able to create in our lives? What next step do we need to take to create places that are safe enough for us to talk about the deep things of our heart? What person in your life is quietly awaiting an opportunity to meet you in the middle of a bridge, to make a connection, to deepen a relationship, to hear or speak a word of faith and hope and love?


This post originally appeared at www.gospel-life.net.

Visible Tokens: Communion through a Chain Link Fence

Migration, borders, citizenship. These are ongoing topics of emotion and debate. Yet, people live at the heart of most weighty issues: men, women, and children whose lives demand that conversations move beyond the hypothetical. That’s what I experienced while in Tijuana, Mexico, teaching at an evangelism seminar with our WME Institute.

**Take a deep breath, this is not a post about policy or politics. It’s a post about people. And the Holy Spirit.

While I was in Tijuana, I had the opportunity to visit the wall that separates Mexico from the United States. To the west is the Pacific Ocean – a beautiful sight from either side. Jutting inland from the Pacific is the border wall, brightly painted with wonderful, urban art. A garden runs beside the wall, edging a plaza with steps leading down to the ocean. A wonderfully cheerful atmosphere until you begin to gaze more deeply.

If you look closely, you’ll notice a locked gate. It leads into a “no man’s land” about 30 yards wide between the barriers that separate the two countries. Once a month, the Mexican government opens the gate and allows families to enter. They cross those 30 yards where others – family members or friends – wait beyond the US barrier.

There is no gate on the US side. But for a while, though separated by wire and watched by US border patrol officers, families can talk, clasping fingers through the small gaps, connecting across the barrier that divides them.

Every month, on the day the gate opens, the Methodist Church is present – on both sides of the wall. There is conversation. There is prayer.

And there is Holy Communion.

Together, the pastor in Mexico and the pastor in the US lead people in an act that transcends borders and walls, division and separation. Simultaneously, they all share in the bread of heaven and the cup of salvation.

I talk often about the importance of signs, all those visible tokens of unseen realities that are spiritually significant, all those things – sometimes miraculous, but often ordinary – that point to Christ and his healing, reconciling, redeeming love. I believe these Holy Spirit-infused moments, when the thin veil of reality billows ever so slightly and we gain a glimpse of something larger and deeper than ourselves, are the moments that form and strengthen and sustain us in faith and in life.

Jesus told us the poor would be with us for a long time. Because following Jesus is a long haul, full life project, it’s the same with the good work we do on his behalf. That is why signs are so important.

Though the issues encountered by a visit to the Mexico-US border in Tijuana are larger than any one person, as followers of Jesus we work for God’s justice in our world. And amid that work, we gather, month after month, open to power of the Holy Spirit to move aside the veil, as we embody through the bread and the cup our faith in the One who transcends all barriers and levels all walls.