By Gary Holloway
The world is coming to Goiânia, Brazil, July 25-29, 2012!
The churches in Goiânia, a vibrant growing city in Brazil, are hosting a global gathering of Christians in the Christian churches/churches of Christ–Disciples of Christ family. These global gatherings occur every four years under the leadership of the World Convention.
Did you know we had a World Convention?
For 80 years, God has worked through the World Convention to connect Christians, Disciples, and churches of Christ globally every day. Stories of recent connections through the World Convention include:
• A Kenyan minister, greatly discouraged by his experiences with Western missionaries, found fellow believers in his country through the World Convention who encouraged him to continue his service through churches and a Christian school.
• A congregation in Australia joined a congregation in Brazil in celebrating the 2009 Great Communion together.
• Churches in Brazil are partnering with Korean churches to plant new
Korean-speaking congregations in Brazil.
The list goes on and on with examples of God’s working to unite his people for action around the world.
The preamble to the World Convention constitution gives the mission of the organization:
The World Convention of churches of Christ exists in order more fully to show the essential oneness of the churches in the Lord Jesus Christ; to build up fellowship, understanding, and common purpose within the Christian churches of Christ–Disciples of Christ global family (including United Churches which members of the family have joined); to encourage and inspire these churches in their serving, prophetic and reconciling ministries; to provide a means of relating the global family to the whole church of Jesus Christ; and to cooperate with Christians everywhere toward the unity of the church upon the basis of the New Testament Scriptures.
Just as the North American Christian Convention and other national and state conventions around the world promote identity and unity on a national and state level, World Convention connects our churches worldwide each day. It does this through its website, worldconvention.org, through its e-newsletter, ChristiaNet, through personal visits to national and regional conventions worldwide, and by a prayer ministry for Christian unity.
World Convention is led by an international board of 30 members representing all branches of the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, Brazil, Jamaica, India, Canada, Korea, and England. C. Robert Wetzel of Tennessee is past president, and B.J. Mpofu of Zimbabwe is the current president. Gary Holloway serves as executive director with offices in Nashville, Tennessee.
One way World Convention has connected our churches is through global gatherings every four years. Since 1930, we have met in the United States, England, Canada, Australia, Scotland, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Jamaica, and New Zealand. The 2012 gathering will be the first in Brazil.
In 1948, Lloyd David Sanders, a recent graduate of Johnson Bible College and Phillips University, and his wife, Ruth, arrived in Brazil as missionaries. They settled in the Goiâs area and began to plant churches. When Brasilia was established as the new capital of Brazil in 1960, the Sanders secured one of the first church sites. As a result of their decades of work, there are more than 300 churches in Goiâs and the Federal District led by Brazilian ministers. The Brazilian churches send out and support Brazilian missionaries in Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Mexico, Portugal, the United States, and India.
World Convention Vice President Victor Hugo Queiroz also serves as president of the Ministerial Council of the churches of Christ in Brazil (see conciliodasigrejasdecristo.org). He and other local leaders are planning and hosting the Goiânia Gathering.
Goiânia is a beautiful city, known as the city of parks. Its economy is growing. There are Evangelical churches on almost every corner. The city is clean, safe, and a wonderful place to visit.
Why should you attend the global gathering in Goiânia? Because of the theme—“Sharing the Love that Unites!” Because it will be the trip of a lifetime—there will be vibrant worship and deep fellowship with the new face of the church . . . young, dedicated, and exuberant. Because you will hear great teaching and preaching.
A Program to Enrich Us
The main-session speakers come from six continents:
• Victor Hugo Queiroz serves as vice president of the World Convention, president of the Christian church/church of Christ Ministerial Council of Brazil, and senior minister with Anapolis (Goiâs) Christian Church.
• Kang Pyeong Lee is first vice president of the World Convention. Pastor at the Yesusarang Christian Church in Seoul, South Korea, he serves on several interchurch boards in his country. He served on the Olympic Committee during the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and subsequently as an adviser to the Sydney Olympic Committee.
• Jerry Taylor has been involved in congregational ministry in Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas, and had a ministry to the poor in Atlanta. He carries a full teaching load at Abilene (Texas) Christian University, while finding time to preach, deliver lectures at various conferences, and write.
• Daisy L. Machado serves as dean of academic affairs and professor of church history at Union Seminary in New York. Her scholarship focuses specifically on United States Christianities. She was the first U.S. Latina ordained in the Christian church (Disciples of Christ) in 1981 in the Northeast Region and has served inner-city congregations in Brooklyn, Houston, and Fort Worth.
• Samuel Twumasi-Ankrah is director of Heritage Christian College, established in 1982 by the Nsawam Road Church of Christ in Accra, Ghana, West Africa. He has been preaching the gospel full time since 1984 and led in planting 23 churches around Ghana. He has spoken at international conferences and lectureships in Canada, the United States, and Britain.
• Having worked as a youth pastor, school chaplain, college lecturer, denominational executive, and senior pastor, Andrew Menzies brings 20 years of Christian ministry and leadership experience to his role as principal of Church of Christ Theological College in Melbourne, Australia. Among other experiences, he has led one of Australia’s largest churches, a remote country school, renewal of a 100-plus-year-old church, and a house/emergent church.
• Edson Gouveia, pastor of the church of Christ in Brasilia since 1994, leads the Christian churches/churches of Christ of the Federal District Association, which has more than 80 churches. He leads the Pro Vida (Pro Life) Ministries in Brasilia, which has a day care for more than 100 children, a village for the elderly, and a camp.
• Waina Tedesco is the first woman consecrated to the office of pastor of the church of Christ in Brasilia. In addition to her full-time pastoral duties, she is responsible for administering a variety of work there. She also leads the Brazilian National Women Convention that gathers more than 2,000 women every September. She also leads a great assistance ministry to the needy.
• In his ministry with the Union of Youth of the Churches of Christ, David Levistone coordinates activities with young people throughout Brazil. The Union of Youth is a Christian organization identified with the Restoration Movement and affiliated to the Ministerial Council of the Churches of Christ. He also is pastor at the Church of Christ Ministry, New Horizon, Goiânia, and works as a lawyer for the state of Goiâs. He is the national leader for the Youth National Convention of the Christian churches/churches of Christ in Brazil, which serves more than 3,000 participants annually.
• Robert Fife went to Portugal in 1988 to work with missionaries Dick and Sarah Robison as a joint project of churches and individuals in Brazil and in the United States. After working with Portugal Christian Mission for nearly 17 years, he started Bridges to Life, which promotes the unity of the body of Christ and provides networking relationships and pastoral care for missionaries among the Portuguese-speaking people.
In addition, the program will feature dozens of classes taught by well-known speakers from all over the world. One highlight of the gathering will be the joint meeting with Global Women Connecting, with its own lineup of informative and motivating speakers.
Plan now to attend the global gathering. For more information and to register online, go to worldconvention.org. You can also sign up for a free e-mail newsletter there. And please keep the daily ministry of World Convention in your prayers.
Gary Holloway serves as executive director of World Convention, Nashville, Tennessee.