To friends and participants in the Russia Initiative, a mission program of the General Board of Global Ministries:
We send you greetings in this Advent and Christmas season with its message of hope and joy for the world. Thank you so much for your love and care and your continuing gifts for the ministries of our brothers and sisters in Eurasia. Generous gifts that we are seeing at year end are especially helpful in maintaining the cash flow required for the support of pastoral salaries and local ministries.
1. Preparations for the Russia Initiative Consultation XV
We are involved now in the preparations for the next Russia Initiative Consultation to be held at the St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City, OK, April 7-9, 2011. The gathering will focus on the roadmap that has been developed by the Eurasia annual conferences over the last two years. The theme of the consultation is “Come with us on the road.” It conveys the invitation for all of us to support and engage with the Eurasia UMC in its roadmap to 2015.
The Eurasia UMC has set this vision in front of them:
We see The United Methodist Church in 2015
- dynamically growing,
- recognized in the society,
- helping people to become committed Christians
Intentional steps toward this vision will give purposeful attention to:
- Quality in ministry
- Mission, evangelism, growth
- Social service
During our gathering we will see that the roadmap has been a major effort to move the church forward in Eurasia and merits the careful attention of all of us as we partner together in the mission. We trust that you will see this particular consultation as very important for our attendance and participation.
In the upcoming weeks we will point you to a consultation website where you will find information for registration and hotel reservations, the road map and other documents for your reading, and a preliminary agenda for the gathering.
The Consultation hotel is:
Crowne Plaza Oklahoma City
2945 NW Expressway
Oklahoma City, OK 73112
A special rate of $95 per room, breakfast included, has been arranged for consultation attendees April 6-10. The consultation will begin on Thursday April 7 with registration at the St. Luke’s UMC at 12:00 noon and the first plenary at 2:30pm. The consultation will adjourn at 10:30am on Saturday, April 9.
Online hotel reservations may be made at the following web link:
The pre-registration procedures and the registration fee for the consultation are still in preparation and we will issue an announcement as soon as possible.
We invite you to begin planning with your partners in Eurasia for their possible attendance at the consultation and itineration at your churches. We truly appreciate your sponsorship of your partner church delegates. There is no budget otherwise to cover the travel costs and consultation expense. If you are interested in bringing your partner pastor or laity to the consultation, please let me know so that we can coordinate the formal invitation process with Bishop Växby’s office.
We also welcome special contributions to help bring some Eurasia delegates that are not otherwise sponsored by partners. Any gift will be appreciated.
2. Partner support commitments requested for 2011
Looking forward to 2011, Bishop Växby and the Eurasia Finance Committee would like to know the anticipated amount of support contributions from the partner churches for pastoral salaries and program ministries in the Eurasia Churches. Please send to me as soon as possible the information about the basic support you are providing to your partner church in 2011. Whether you have a budget commitment or your best estimate of a special offering amount, the information will be most helpful for administering the support payments to the pastors in the coming year as well as moving forward with the roadmap.
We pray that you will be blessed by the wonder and joy in this Christmas season and that your ministry together with brothers and sisters around the world will help to proclaim the message of the Christmas angels to many places where people are in need of its power and grace.
Dr. W. James Athearn
Coordinator, Russia Initiative
GENERAL BOARD OF GLOBAL MINISTRIES
The United Methodist Church
116 Frasher Drive, Clear Brook, VA 22624
Tel: 540-662-2066 Fax: 540-662-6998