Last week, EMMS International Church Development Manager, Rev James Petticrew, was privileged to speak at the 20th ‘Order of the Flame’ annual conference of Methodist World Evangelism on St Simon’s Island, Georgia, USA.
In the 1730s, the founders of Methodism, John and Charles Wesley, served on the beautiful St Simon’s Island which was then a fledgling British colony. However, they left St Simon’s disappointed as they were unable to make any spiritual impact on the colonists or local indigenous population. They returned to the UK and experienced a profound encounter with God. This inspired them to begin the Methodist movement.
Over 100 church leaders, drawn from denominations across the worldwide Wesleyan church, returned to St Simon’s Island last week for the conference. By bringing together the global Methodist/Wesleyan family, the conference aims to multiply witnesses for Jesus Christ by encouraging, equipping and enlivening holistic evangelism and discipleship. Notable speakers included Bishop Ivan Abrahams, currently head of the World Methodist Council but internationally known for having preached at Nelson Mandela’s funeral, Rev Dr Kim Reisman, director of Methodist World Evangelism and Rev Dr Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent Emeritus of The Wesleyan Church.
EMMS’s Rev James Petticrew, who is also an ordained minister in the Wesleyan tradition, spoke in a plenary session about the role of church leaders in inspiring their congregations in mission. James also gave a seminar entitled “From Local to Global: Involving Congregations in God’s Worldwide Mission”. During this seminar, he led a discussion regarding how and why church leaders involve their congregations with global mission. In particular, he spoke about the work of EMMS International facilitating global mission, both today and in the past.
Interestingly, as well as founding Methodism, John Wesley was also a notable medical pioneer, sharing EMMS’s vision for providing compassionate healthcare for the poor. He published ‘Primitive Physic’ in 1747, which gave practical medical advice for those who could not afford private doctors. He also opened free clinics for the poor in London, in addition to dispensaries in Bristol and Newcastle. Therefore, it was no surprise that the contemporary work of EMMS in bringing effective and sustainable healthcare to the poor in India, Malawi and Nepal, was of great interest to Wesley’s spiritual descendants who gathered on St Simon’s this year.
Read more about the ‘Order of the Flame’ annual conference of Methodist World Evangelism.
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