“We commission you to take the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ into all the world.” Twenty-nine times the ancient phrase was intoned as The United Methodist Church sent new missionaries from 11 countries to serve in 16 lands.
The liturgy of commissioning, both solemn and joyful at the Oregon Convention Center, was believed to be the first as part of a United Methodist General Conference, the church’s policy-making assembly that meets every four years.
The new missionaries will serve as church developers, chaplains, teachers, health practitioners or administrators, agricultural specialists and youth workers. Six of the 29 will work in the health field. Four will engage in ministries with migrants.
Twenty-five are “global missionaries;” four are Church and Community Worker missionaries who will work in economically marginalized urban and rural communities in the United States. They serve through the denomination’s United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, which currently has some 350 missionaries in 60 countries, and projects and partners in 60 more.