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LYNC Global Relationships is Working to Build Bridges at the Charlotte General Conference

by Rev. Richard Bentley, reserve General Conference delegate of the California-Pacific Annual Conference and Coordinator of the Global Relationships Team of the Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC).

The Global Relationships Team fosters grace filled, cross cultural relationships through radical hospitality, respect, unconditional love, justice seeking, listening and mutual learning so that the global UMC shall fully embody Christ’s beloved community for all.

The Global Relationships Team is part of the Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC), 15 United Methodist related groups who work together. (See list of the 15 groups below.) It has provided hospitality to delegates from outside the United States at the General Conferences in 2012 at Tampa, FL; in 2016 at Portland, OR; and in 2019 at St. Louis, MO. While its primary focus is building relationships without a specific legislative agenda, it has provided perspectives about how delegates from outside the US viewed what was happening at each of these General Conferences. The team now has much more extensive connections in Africa and the Philippines. So in Charlotte, it can connect US delegates with delegates from Africa and the Philippines so they can work together productively at the Charlotte General Conference.

1) Cultural Competency Training

LYNC requires Cultural Competency Training of all its volunteers to help cross barriers of culture and colonization. This training is also available at no cost to GC delegates and observers. It is offered both by Zoom before General Conference and in person in Charlotte. There are two versions, one for those from colonizing nations and the other for those from nations that were colonized. The Cultural Competency Team leader is Joe Russ, a member of El Segundo UMC in Cal-Pac and a former GBGM Global Mission Fellow. To register for a zoom training go to

2) Worldwide Worship Service & Fellowship Meal

4:30 pm on Sunday, April 21 (Sunday before GC) at First United Methodist Church Charlotte.

Delegates from outside the US begin arriving in Charlotte around April 18. They have a special orientation which ends on Sunday, April 21 at 2 pm. Global Relationships is working with leaders from Africa and the Philippines to create a festive, joyous worship service later that Sunday afternoon. Several delegations from outside the US have already agreed to provide special music. Afterwards, there will be a hospitality meal with lots of fellowship opportunities.

3) Translation Assistance Outside of Official GC Sessions

Global Relationship is providing a team of experienced UM translators to help conversation and communication happen between delegates outside of official General Conference settings. (Official GC translators only provide translation in official GC settings.) The Global Relationships translators will help people whose first European language is not English to both be heard and understand in informal hallway conversations, larger unofficial gatherings, written articles for delegates, legislative talking points, and discussion of possible legislation prior to its official submission. The team includes translators in each of the 3 other official languages of General Conference – French, Portuguese and Kiswahili. And it has simultaneous translation equipment so translation can happen without slowing down the pace in large group gatherings.

4) Worldwide Craft Market

Delegates from outside the US bring crafts to GC to sell to raise money for mission projects in their home countries as a way of developing self-sustainability. The Craft Market will be staffed by Global Relationship volunteers so these crafts can be sold while delegates are in General Conference sessions. Global Relationships is deepening relationships by working with delegates and leaders in Africa and the Philippines before GC about the crafts they plan to bring so these crafts can be showcased in an online catalogue. Watch for this online catalogue at

5) Hospitality Dinners

Groups of delegates and others from outside the US can spend an evening in the home of a United Methodist family in the Charlotte area. No political agenda. Just fellowship. These groups often include a cross section of delegates from Africa, the Philippines and/or Europe. Cathy Wilson and Rev. Dr. Denyse Barnes, Cal-Pac reserve delegates to General Conference, are coordinating this work. They are getting help recruiting host families from local churches and United Women in Faith in the Charlotte area.

The LYNC Global Relationships Team depends entirely upon donations for its work. One group with a major focus on raising funds for Global Relationships is Western Methodist Justice Movement (WMJM), one of the LYNC partner groups. You can give at

*The 15 LYNC partner groups are: Affirmation, Association of Ministers with Disabilities UMC, Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR), Fossil Free UMC, Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), Metodistas Asociados Representando la Causa Hispano-Americanos (MARCHA), Native American International Caucus (NAIC), New Federation of Asian American United Methodists (NFAAUM), Pacific Islanders Caucus of United Methodists (PINCUM), Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), United Methodist Congress of the Deaf, United Methodist Creation Justice Movement, United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR), United Methodist Queer Clergy Caucus, and Western Methodist Justice Movement (WMJM).