The United Methodist Church is a Church of connections, relationships, and partnerships.
So when presented with the opportunity to attend the Dominican Republic Methodist Church’s General Assembly – their version of an Annual Conference session – South Georgia Conference representatives quickly agreed and set the wheels in motion for a visit.
Rev. Henry Bass, superintendent of the South Central District; Rev. Christy Bandy, pastor of Springhill United Methodist Church and Whigham United Methodist Church; and Rev. Sally Flowers, pastor of New Harvest United Methodist Church and Providence United Methodist Church, represented the Conference and traveled from South Georgia to Bani, Dominican Republic Jan. 26 through Jan. 28, 2017.
The Southwest and South Central Districts have partnered with the Dominican Republic Methodist Church and local pastor Rev. Pedro Kery Johnson in mission and ministry. A mission team from the Southwest District, led by Superintendent Dr. Nita Crump, traveled there last June and two trips are scheduled this year – one in April, led by Rev. Flowers, and one June 19 through June 26, led by Rev. Carl Barnhardt, pastor of The Pointe in Leesburg. The relationships extend even farther, though, going back more than 15 years when now-retired pastor Rev. George Herndon took teams to the country.
The three South Georgia pastors spent three days in the Dominican Republic, preaching, speaking, strengthening relationships, and celebrating the Dominican Republic Methodist Church’s 95th anniversary.
They also presented local pastors with 32 white robes, gifted from Nashville United Methodist Church. The Dominican pastors will wear the gently used choir robes on Sunday morning as they preach and worship. They’d never had robes before and received them appreciatively, Rev. Bass said. When Rev. Flowers travels back April 24 through May 1 she would like to take 25 more cuffed robes for those pastors who didn’t receive one.
With a theme of “Hope,” Rev. Bass focused his Saturday evening preaching on Eph. 4:4-5. Rev. Bandy, who was on her fourth trip to the Dominican Republic, preached about reclaiming one’s identity and moving forward toward the future with hope.
It’s important that we partner in ministry with brothers and sisters in the faith, Rev. Bandy said, and that’s why this trip was important.
“Building trust, building faith, building a common thread in the Word and God and our linkage in Christ Jesus, it’s important that we partner together,” she said. “We can help each other in a true partnership.”
The conference and districts’ support helps spread the gospel to more people and to more places, Rev. Bass said.
“People are (spiritually) hungry and the gospel is growing,” he said. “John Wesley said, ‘The world is my parish,’ and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Does your congregation have gently used, cuffed, choir robes that it would be willing to give to pastors in the Dominican Republic? If so, contact Rev. Henry Bass at email@example.com or (229) 242-7470. Interested in serving on the April 24-May 1 short-term mission trip to the Dominican Republic? Contact Rev. Sally Flowers at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Click here for more information about the Southwest District’s June 19-26 trip to Barahona, Dominican Republic.