International Missions and Partnerships
"Do all the good you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can." - John Wesley
Blacksburg United Methodist Church has enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership with our Christian sisters and brothers in Kiev. In recent years, the BUMC congregation gave $296,136 for the purchase of facilities to support the work of the St. Luke’s Family Center. This outreach center welcomes homeless children and youth, providing them with essential services such as food, clothing, medical care, education, and nurture. In addition, we partner with the Spring of Life United Methodist Church in Kiev, an emerging Christian community that provides ministries in a cultural context that previously taught atheism while under communist domination.
Blacksburg United Methodist Church has been involved in Haiti for nearly a decade. Our involvement dates back 12 years with Pastor Leon Dorleans of Haiti Outreach Ministries. That partnership and love of the people of Haiti has grown over the years, and among other projects BUMC members have provided over $66,000 to provide emergency food assistance to the people of Cite Soleil, constructed a foot bridge to the village of Ti Peligre, and helped support Ecole Philadelphia de Mirebalais, raising over $120,000 to fund two school buildings, teacher salaries, and a well and cistern. The most recent trip, in January of 2017, saw the completion of the walls and structure to a new computer lab, with the Haitians to complete the roof, tables, and power soon. Another trip for the same week in 2018 is already being planned!
Blacksburg United Methodist Church has sent a mission team to the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala for a week each summer since 2014. We are working with Impacto Ministry in San Juan la Laguna and in surrounding villages. Our primary focus has been on Impacto’s Happy Tummies ministry to elementary-age children who are struggling in school due to hunger. We have helped construct a library for these children and have provided many books to help get the library started. We have also participated in Impacto’s Abuelitos (Little Grandparents) ministry, their Stitches of Blessings ministry, and helped start their Home Visits ministry. Home Visits are a chance for our mission team to fellowship with a local family in their home. We have led Women’s Christian retreats since 2016. For more information about this ministry please contact Jeff and Mary Parks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Longtime Blacksburg United Methodist Church member Minnis Ridenour, in partnership with leaders in Europe, Russia and the United States, founded a training program for people serving in ministry in post-communist countries of Europe and the Balkans. The development of the Methodist e-Academy allows emerging church leaders to have access to a theological education in preparation for service in ministry. United Methodist leaders in the United States are now considering this innovative program for theological education in their own context. It has the potential to the impact 21st century Methodism in profoundly important ways.
ENDOW F-TECC - Central Conferences in the Philippines, Europe, and Africa
Access to a comprehensive theological education varies greatly for leaders across our connection. In Africa, Europe, and the Philippines, organized as the central conferences, access to education is not keeping pace with the rapid growth of the Church in those regions.
For those living in central conferences, receiving a theological education poses significant challenges including:
Seminaries are too far away or too expensive
Seminaries struggle to find well-trained professors and to offer library resources in needed languages
Courses of Study for initial and continuing education need to be developed
Scholarships are needed for initial and post-graduate studies
These barriers prevent the formal education of future pastors that could transform congregations around the world. In order to minister effectively and be prepared to serve as leaders for the challenges of the world, we must provide our leaders with the necessary tools and resources to be successful through education in the Wesleyan tradition. This is the mission of the Endowment Fund for Theological Education in the Central Conferences.