North Georgia Bridges teams set to travel to three continents this fall
This fall North Georgia Bridges teams will make tracks around the world as they embark on the program's first trip to Moscow, a journey to the city of Porta, Portugal, and a return trip to the hills of El Salvador.
Each trip has around a dozen participants from various North Georgia churches, universities and agencies.
This month, Bridges will make its first trip to Moscow to meet and discuss future plans for a formal partnership between North Georgia and the United Methodist Church of Eurasia. Hosts will be Sergei Nikolaev, the president of the Moscow Seminary, and Bishop Hans Vaxby of the Eurasia area.
This partnership is multi-dimensional. FIrst, there is a desire to strengthen the historical link between Candler School of Theology and the Seminary of Moscow. The second aspect is to visit pastors and churches of the area and learn what issues they face, what they are learning and where we might enhance ministry and outreach.
Dr. Juan Quintanilla, director of hispanic new church development, is leading the upcoming trip to El Salvador and taking with him a primarily Spanish-speaking team. The group will lead a discipleship workshop for clergy, visit churches and key ministry locations and to explore the possibility of making connections with Juan Wesley Seminary in Mexico to offer a study by extension distance learning.
In El Salvador, 13 Methodist churches are nestled among the hills and valleys of the largely Roman Catholic nation. These churches have a membership of about 1,000, about half of which are children. The goal of the Bridge between the North Georgia Conference and El Salvador is to partner with and enhance the ministry that already exists.
The theme of the October trip is, “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide and do not hold back.” (Isaiah 54:2)
This journey to Portugal follows a meeting between Bishop Sifredo Teixeira with North Georgia’s Director of Connectional Ministries, Mike Selleck, and Bishop Mike Watson last year. The small European country has a long history of Methodism, however the 14 Methodist churches with about 1,000 members total struggle and are desperate for partner churches.
Few United Methodist conferences have considered a partnership with the Portual Methodist churches because of the assumption that poverty doesn’t exist in the area or the needs aren't as urgent as in developed nations, or that there is not enough of a Methodist presence to support.
“This has left the Methodist churches in Portugal unnecessarily isolated,” said Selleck. “North Georgians can partner with these churches to help keep Methodism relevant to modern Portuguese.”
This exploratory trip will focus on meeting with leadership to discern what role North Georgia churches and individuals can play in this new partnership.
Bridges is a series of mission partnerships between the North Georgia Conference and other annual conferences, churches and agencies around the world. The program allows North Georgia churches, small groups and individuals to work together in mission fields.
The nine Bridges are:
North Georgia through Action Ministries
World-wide through World Methodist Evangelism
North Georgia churches, small groups and individuals are invited to take part in a Bridge by going on a mission trip, praying for the ministry or giving to one of the supported projects. If you, your church or your group are interested in being a part of any of the Bridges efforts, simply contact Mike Selleck at firstname.lastname@example.org