International gathering focuses on listening to global concerns


A group of United Methodists from around the globe will take time to listen to one another for the next week.
“Listening with Open Hearts: Building Bridges and Deepening Relationships” will be held in Portland August 24 to 29. It will include representatives from Africa, the Philippines and Europe, and the United States in a time designed to engage participants in a global conversation to: provide an opportunity to share issues and concerns related to our various contexts, especially those facing The United Methodist Church outside of the United States; deepen the understanding and relationships with one another; and create an environment of intentional listening.
Sponsored by the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference and the Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC), the event will offer opportunities for United Methodist participants from outside the U.S. to share about the missional situation of the church in their areas. In addition, there will be opportunities to worship and engage in Bible study together.
Organizers see this as a way to assist the larger United Methodist Church, by modeling a method of having important conversations with each other that reflect how we can be together conversationally and missionally in a changing world.
This conversation will be facilitated by the Rev. Kalaba Chali, mercy and justice coordinator for the Great Plains Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, and Rev. Dr. Mary Elizabeth Moore, dean of the School of Theology at Boston University. Both are experienced in working in an international context. They have worked with the organizers to develop a framework for honest listening about the social justice and missional needs of the church in many places around the world.
Because the gathering is intended as a place for relationship building and contemplative conversation, it is not open to the public or press. Participants will be encouraged to return to their own homes and missional contexts to share what they have learned.