Written by Edith Guffey
I hate it when I can begin a column with the words “I remember when” because it not only indicates that I am no longer in the “young adult category but it could be read as meaning that I am also in the “longing for the past” category. But let me assure you that while the former is true, the later is not. In this particular instance, I say I remember when, only to illustrate that once it seemed that the world was so large and what happened in other countries had very little to do with me or the United States. That was probably just a matter of my limited experience and ethnocentrism, but I also think that incredible changes in our culture even in the last 25 have made the world smaller and more connected. With even a little bit of curiosity, I can easily learn and see what is happening in other countries and with maturity I have learned the interconnectedness of political systems. And yet it is still just as easy to be as isolated as I choose.
One area that I realize that KO has not had as much experience and exposure to in the UCC is Wider Church Ministries which includes Global Ministries. We have had national staff from Disaster Ministries which is part of Wider Church Ministries with us at Annual Meetings and have welcomed Missionaries who have back in the United States to our annual meetings. But in the years that I have been here, I have not tried to really highlight the work of Global Ministries. I have no explanation for that; other than I have deferred to the concerns that I see most close to home; here in the United States. It’s not that I don’t care about the global issues and it’s not that I don’t think or know that they are connected to the concerns we are facing in the United States they are. I just haven’t given them equal attention or energy.
I hear that same response when I ask local church members about their lack of participation in the Conference or wider church; there’s no reason they are active in what they see first in their local communities. I get that as I am “guilty as charged” of doing the exact same thing in a different way. I understand that it takes a special effort to see and move beyond what is the most immediate need because what’s right before us is so compelling, even when there might be something else just as important and compelling around the bend. My pledge to you is to be more committed to giving you a glimpse of other parts of the church that are “around the bend” as there may be something you don’t even know about that will make that extra trip worth it. Let’s start with the basics, as we begin to learn more about Common Global Ministries, like why is it called Common Global Ministries and what countries are we serving? And yes, it is supported by OCWM! https://www.globalministries.org/about