The United Methodist Church is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church with the Methodist Mission Bicentennial. The society was formed on April 5, 1819 to support the work of African-American missionary John Stewart to the Wyandotte Native Americans in Ohio. The work of the Missionary Society was affirmed by the 1820 General Conference, making it the first official denomination-wide mission society in the United States. Since that time the original society has evolved to become the General Board of Global Ministries and its humanitarian relief and development arm the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Today Global Ministries supports missions of men and women across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific to evangelize new people and communities, provide development aid and relief, promote peace and justice everywhere and encourage abundant global health.
Throughout 2019-20 Global Ministries will host a series of celebrations to commemorate both the founding of the Missionary Society and the General Conference's affirmation of its work. United Methodists can go to the Bicentennial website to read stories of famous missionaries and mission leaders of both the past and present. There's also a place for United Methodists to share their own stories of serving a mission (whether its local, regional, national or global). Celebrate the transformative impact of The United Methodist Church's global missions that all began with a single missionary society in 1819.