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February  2, 2001


Bishop's Corner

Signs Of Hope

By Bishop  J. Lloyd Knox

Bishop Cornelius L. HendersonOn Jan. 1, 2001 we actually entered the Third Millennium ó the year 2000 was the completion of 2,000 years. Jan. 1, 2001 also marked the beginning of a new quadrennium, or four-year period, for the United Methodist Church.

As I look back at our last quadrennium I see signs of hope as we enter a new beginning. The Advance Daily Christian Advocates, which prepared us for the 2000 General Conference sessions, gave us insight into the future.

Regarding our missional outreach worldwide the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) reported on our Russian Initiative. At that time almost a year ago, the Russia Provisional Annual Conference had 60 congregations with 5,000 members and 15,000 constituents after nine years of life. Now, there are approximately 90 congregations.

There are more than 50 students in the seminary in Moscow. The Korean Methodist Church is very supportive of the seminary and the general work of the conference. More than 280 work teams from the United States, consisting of more than 3,000 volunteers, have worked in Russia and Ukraine. Much of this was medical work.

The United Methodist Church in Estonia has also made great progress. With the help of Methodists around the world a new church and mission center has been built in Tallinn, the capital. The center houses a seminary with some 60 students who prepare for service in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia where new congregations are being started. The United Methodist Church in Poland is assisting with ministry in Lithuania.

The GBGM is actively supporting new work in Eastern Europe, including the former Yugoslavia. The president of Macedonia is a United Methodist. The United Methodist Committee on Relief, a GBGM agency, has ongoing work in the Balkans.

United Methodist work in Africa, Latin America and Asia is also growing. New mission work began in Cambodia in Southeast Asia and in Honduras and other parts of Central America. We have all heard of the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Cuba. Many United States Volunteers in Mission have given service all around the world, especially in Latin America and Africa.

Meanwhile, may we give more of ourselves in Godís work here and everywhere. May this be a time of new beginnings.

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