actions and reports umma history and vision membership information umma facebook page umma blog
map of the world
steering committee umma update gbgm theology and strategy links and regional news home

UMMA History and Vision

Brief History

In response to a felt need for a continuing, consultative body by the missionaries of the World Division of the GBGM, a core of active and retired missionaries under the informal leadership of Richard Schwenk, the 1995-96 Missionary-in-Residence, contacted all active and retired missionaries it could reach urging them to join the forming association. Response was overwhelming with more than 450 people joining.

Prior to the World Division's missionary personnel conference at Ridgewood, NC, in July, 1996, a group of retired and active missionaries gathered and drew up a constitutional draft for a United Methodist Missionary Association.

In the language of the indigenous peoples of Sarawak, "umma" is the word for "long house" - a village under one roof, where families live in community and gather for dialogue and peacemaking. In Arabic, "umma" means the whole society of God's people both are fitting expressions for the Missionaries of the United Methodist Church.

At the second annual UMMA Gathering held July 15-16, 1997 at Simpsonwood Retreat Center outside Atlanta, the Interim Steering Committee reported the establishment of an UMMA office at the home of Gilbert Bascom in Penn Yan, NY and the incorporation of UMMA as a non-profit organization by New York law. The members at the UMMA GATHERING proceeded to elect a Steering Committee for four years made up of representatives from active and retired missionaries plus the current Missionary-in-Residence and a Coordinator.

Task Forces were established and members assigned to them to maintain an on-going dialogue with the staff and directors of the GBGM for problems and issues being faced by the missionary community around the world.

Subsequent Annual UMMA GATHERINGS are usually held prior to the Global Mission Personnel Conference of the GBGM in a location easily accessible to people attending the conference.

UMMA is now established as a responsible spokesperson for the missionary community both actives and retirees with a legal foundation (a corporation), an elected Steering Committee with officers and members who are dedicated to Christ's mission in the world working through the United Methodist Church.

Vision for Global Ministries

The United Methodist Missionary Association (UMMA) stands in grateful solidarity with all who have served and are serving the General Board of Global Ministries around the world and in the United States. Global is local and local is global. We celebrate the connectedness of our United Methodist Church which provides a functional, missional identity for those who are called and sent across national, linguistic and cultural boundaries in mission, and who are called to specific identification and solidarity with national and ethnic churches in many parts of the world.

We believe that we are indeed being swept by the Spirit into a new mission age of enormous challenge and great opportunity.

We therefore:

  1. Urge the Directors of the General Board of Global Ministries and Staff to give priority to the recruitment and sending of persons in missionary service who will embody the vision and call of Christ to mission everywhere.
  2. Urge the Mission Personnel Unit to affirm the distinctive missionary task of those sent to cross national, linguistic and cultural boundaries, including continuation of the Missionary Conference and the office of Missionary-in-Residence.
  3. Call upon those within the United Methodist Missionary Association to prayerfully communicate any concerns and work in advocacy with the GBGM for the high purpose of Christ's mission of grace and shalom to people in God's global community.

The Purpose of the United Methodist Missionary Association (UMMA)

... is to develop and nurture a vital connectional network among active, inactive and retired missionaries of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church for the purpose of promoting Christian mission. (UMMA Constitution)

Constitution and Bylaws

You can download a copy of our constitution and by-laws here (pdf).

Actions and Reports | Brief History | Membership Information | Prayer Request | Regional News
Related Links | Steering Committee | Task Forces | UMMA Update | Vision and Mission | Home

Last Modified: 23 October 2010
Copyright © 2008
United Methodist Missionary Association
We welcome your comments: