Bishop Watson, Dr. Worrell among evangelism leaders at 8-day African summit
By NGONI DAPIRA
More than 120 evangelism leaders from 20 African countries and 18 Wesleyan Methodist family churches under the World Methodist Council attended the landmark Africa Continental Summit held at Africa University in Zimbabwe.
The eight-day summit, which began Dec. 1, was organized by the World Methodist Evangelism Institute of the World Methodist Council.
The North Georgia Conference was well represented at the summit with the presence of Bishop Mike Watson and Dr. Winston Worrell, the Director of the World Methodist Evangelism Institute.
Bishop Watson, Chairperson of World Methodist Evangelism, said it was very important that Africa’s Methodist leadership step forward in the Christian movement going on around the world. He said the summit would provide more clarity and energy to carry out the vision of Wesleyan Methodists and also create a sense of unity.
“The ‘people called Methodists,’ followers of Jesus Christ in the company of the Wesleys, are one family with one mission - that the world may know Jesus Christ,” said Bishop Watson.
The World Director of the World Methodist Evangelism, Dr. Eddie Fox, said the Africa summit follows a series of summits held in the Americas, Asia, Philippines and England.
“As the World Methodist Evangelism, we have been engaged in this vision of doing our part so that the world may know who Jesus Christ is,” Dr. Fox said. “We had a series of summits around the world beginning a few years ago in the Americas.
“We were in South America, Central America, North America and Havana, Cuba. That was followed by summits in Asia and the Philippines. We also held another summit at Cliff College in England, which was for Europe. Almost every Methodist Church in Europe was represented.”
Dr. Fox expressed his enthusiasm for the rapid growth of the church in Africa.
“We dreamed about this summit in Africa, the ‘continent of light,’ a summit for all Wesleyan evangelism leaders in Africa. I am glad that it came out in a wonderful way.
“We say Africa is the continent of light because the Christian faith is growing faster in Africa than any other continent in the world. It is also true that Africa has entered into the orbit of Christian faith with the majority of the people on the continent believing in Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior,” he said.
Attending the summit were church leaders from Angola, Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the United States.
Dr. Fox said as Wesleyans it is important to carry on strengthening each other and reorienting each other on the doctrines of John Wesley.
“This summit like all our other summits focuses on the words of Wesley, who experienced the movement of the Holy Spirit in his heart. We are, however, clear as Methodists that we do not worship Wesley, but worship and follow Jesus in the company of Wesleyans," said Fox.
“Mr. Wesley, not long before his death, wrote and said he did not fear that the people called Methodists shall never cease to exist, not in Europe, America or anywhere else in the world. He said he only feared that the Methodists will exist as a dead sect. He however continued that this will undoubtedly be the case unless they hold firm to the doctrine, discipline and the spirit with which they first set out.”
Dr. Worrell said he was delighted that they had held their landmark African summit during a time when Africa University celebrated its 20thanniversary.
“We are very happy to be here at Africa University and grateful that they opened their doors to make this very important event a success," said Dr. Worrell. “This university, as a Methodist and Christian related institution, has already begun to have significant impact across the continent. As we travel around the continent to hold seminars like this one, we are meeting several graduates from this institution who are making significant contributions as pastors and leaders.
The Vice-Chancellor of Africa University, Professor Fanuel Tagwira, said the university was privileged to host the event.
“Our mandate as a Pan Africa institution is to ‘Invest in Africa’s future.’ So it brings us so much joy when we host such landmark events which call for unity among African Methodists in the Wesleyan family," said Tagwira. “Africa needs unity of purpose in all spheres of life to develop. I thank the World Methodist Evangelism Institute for organizing this workshop.”
The World Methodist Evangelism Institute, which brings together the churches under the Wesleyan Methodist family, is devoted to mission and evangelism and spreading the good news of Christ Jesus all over the world. The Wesleyan Methodist movement is in138 countries with more than 80 million followers.