Nashville, Tenn.: United Methodist bishops from Africa, Europe, Asia and the United States will gather in Berlin at Hotel Palace Berlin for the Council of Bishops (COB) meeting, from May 1-7.
As final plans are being made for the COB meeting, Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey is preparing to preach during the May gathering at a United Methodist church in Eberswalde, a town in former East Germany located one hour from Berlin.
Members of the COB were asked to preach in one of 10 churches where Council members will worship on May 3. Bishop Harvey, who serves as the secretary for the Council of Bishops, had made a decision not to offer herself to preach in order to prepare for her duties as secretary.
But on April 14, Bishop Harvey changed her plans upon receiving an email--one that illustrates the United Methodist connection at its best.
In October of 2013, Bishop Harvey preached at Exploration, a gathering of over 600 young people discerning a call to ministry. At that gathering, Bishop Harvey met a small delegation from Germany who had been invited to attend the event held in Denver. One of those young persons was Anne-Marie Detjen, now Rev. Detjen, who is currently serving the United Methodist congregation in Eberswalde. Rev. Detjen, who remembered hearing Bishop Harvey at the Exploration event, reached out to her in an email saying, "I have such good memories of your message at Exploration and it would be an honor to have you preach at our church.”
Bishop Harvey said she was “deeply honored” to be asked to preach and even more honored that Rev. Detjen would remember her sermon and their meeting in Denver. ”As people gather in Louisiana on May 3 for worship, we will be connected to those gathered in Eberswalde, Germany. Please join with me in prayer for this special congregation, and for our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout Germany and throughout the world,” said Bishop Harvey.
Main topics on the agenda for the COB meeting in May include the development of vital congregations, the implementation of the four Areas of Focus, preparation for the 2016 General Conference of The United Methodist Church, and the role of bishops in helping to maintain the unity and faithfulness of the church in the face of many significant challenges and opportunities.
"The Council of Bishops is meeting in Europe because The United Methodist Church is a global church with approximately 40 percent of United Methodists living outside the United States," said Bishop Peter D. Weaver, executive secretary of the Council of Bishops. "It is important, as John Wesley emphasized, to be 'connected' with each other as we celebrate the diversity of gifts in our church and learn from each other how best to 'make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world' in this 21st century."