Reconciliation Ministries Goes International

PASADENA—Curtis May, director of the church’s Office of Reconciliation Ministries, participated in a training session for church leaders, missionaries, church planters and African Enterprise board members from 19 countries Feb. 12 to 17 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Mr. May is a member of the U.S. board of African Enterprise.

Mr. May was invited to the training session by Archibald Hart, U.S. board chairman of African Enterprise and a Fuller Theological Seminary professor. Mr. May was accompanied by his wife, Jannice.

The focus of the conference was the Personal Life of the Leader. Some of the topics covered were Managing Change, Coping With Depression and Disappointment in Christian Leadership, and Personal Health and Character of the Christian Leader. Mr. May spoke on Reconciliation and the WCG Journey and Passionate Commitment.

Some of the countries represented were Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Australia, Canada and the United States.

“The diverse group represented a number of fellowships and ethnicities, but they had one thing in common, a deep desire to share the gospel with those who don’t know Christ,” Mr. May said.

“Several participants said they came to the conference with doubts about the sincerity of the WCG in its changes. One attendee, a member of an evangelical association, said she had doubts about our transformation until she heard we had apologized. After the question and answer session these participants had become convinced of our passionate commitment to our transformation,” Mr. May said.

During the trip Mr. May spoke about reconciliation to combined churches in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Harare, Zimbabwe. He also assisted James Henderson, regional director, in a three-day training session in Zimbabwe on effective ministry. (See article, page 32.)

During that three-day period, Mrs. May, Shirley Henderson (wife of the regional director) and Susie Dick (wife of Randal Dick, superintendent of missions international) conducted a conference for ministers’ wives sponsored by Connecting and Bonding, which is directed by Mrs. May. Other guest speakers were Esther Howard-Brown and Neela Govender, well-respected ministry leaders from South Africa.

Following are three newly assigned chapter leaders in the Office of Reconciliation Ministries International.

AFRICAN ENTERPRISE LEADERS—From left: Gottfried OseiMensah, board chairman; Jannice May; Archibald Hart, U.S. board chairman; Curtis May; and Michael O’Dell, assistant operations manager. [Photos by James Henderson]
AFRICAN ENTERPRISE CONFERENCE—Curtis May, director of the Office of Reconciliation Ministries, speaks at conference in South Africa.

James Henderson

James Henderson is superintendent of African Missions for the WCG. He and his wife, Shirley, travel from their base in Johannesburg to many countries throughout Africa, where he conducts seminars and conferences on leadership and ministry.

Mr. Henderson has facilitated several reconciliation meetings, and had this to say about reconciliation: “Within Africa reconciliation is not just about race alone, but we also need tribal, generational and gender reconciliation. Of course, the greatest reconciliation Africa needs is reconciliation with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son. The WCG in Africa is seeking to address these vital issues as the Holy Spirit leads us into opportunities to do so.”

Owen Willis

Owen Willis is the new chapter leader in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Mr. Willis was born and brought up in Kenya as a white African, and served the church in Africa for nearly two decades. This brought him into direct involvement with the liberation struggles in Zimbabwe and South Africa where he encouraged reconciliation initiatives between the tribal and ethnic groups.

Since moving to Canada in 1992, he has maintained an interest in such issues, serving as a committee member of the Canadian Ecumenical Jubilee Initiative (CEJI)—part of the global Jubilee 2000 initiative. CEJI’s focus this year is on restoring right relationships with aboriginal peoples, the First Nations of Canada. He is also involved with the settlement of African refugees in Halifax.

In February the WCG took part in a racial reconciliation weekend called Healing the Racial Divide, which involved civic and church leaders in the city. In March, Dan Christmas, a church member and spokesman for the Mi’kmaq Nation, conducted a seminar titled Restoring Right Relationships for WCG members in Halifax.

Olivier Carion

Olivier Carion is the new chapter leader in North London, England.

Mr. Carion said: “London is a vast multi-ethnic megalopolis, and it is no surprise that most of the five WCG congregations that meet in the London area reflect such ethnic richness. Spiritual bonding in such a situation is a wonderful blessing, but looking at reconciliation in the context of such a big city full of tensions can be daunting.”

Mr. Carion noted that several bridges have been built between the WCG and other parts of the Body of Christ in the London area.

During an earlier visit to England, Mr. May spoke about the history and development of reconciliation ministry to the North London congregation.

“His message started us thinking more seriously about the matter of reconciliation,” Mr. Carion said.

“Today we are at the stage of humble beginnings,” he continued. “We have a Prayer Task Force of about 20 people seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance on matters of reconciliation, looking for issues to be addressed at several levels of church and city life. At its regular meetings, the London area pastoral team discusses and prays about the matter of reconciliation, seeking ways to facilitate it both inside and outside our fellowship.”

At the Annual Day Dinner organized by London’s Indian YMCA, Jim Lamb, director of the YMCA World Urban Network based in Geneva, Switzerland, gave a moving presentation on racism and peace in Christ. Mr. Carion closed the evening on a prayerful note of forgiveness and reconciliation. This event drove home the cry for reconciliation in many parts of the world, he said.