The theme of this General Conference is “a hope for the future.” On April 28, that hope walked onto the stage and danced.
The children of the Hope for Africa Children’s Choir are defining what can happen when the church acts.
These children are from Uganda. Twenty years of civil war has left their nation devastated and created 2 million orphans. But United Methodists in Uganda, with the assistance of people from the South Georgia Annual Conference, plucked 23 children from refugee camps, fed and clothed them and taught them English. The singing just came naturally.
The children were formed into a choir. These children come from the Humble United Methodist School in Mukono, Uganda, which takes in more than 200 children.
Singing and dancing about how Jesus is their music and their song, the children’s faces were illuminated with sheer joy.
Their performance brought tears to some delegates and delight to all.
Because of God’s presence in us, they have hope; and because God’s presence in them, we have hope, said Bishop Mike Watson, of the South Georgia Conference. “These children are the manifestation of the work of the United Methodist Church.”
Watching the church transcend the boundaries of its traditional liberal-conservative debate and make a tangible difference in the lives of children warmed the heart of the Rev. Tony Hunt, superintendent of the Baltimore-Harford District.
When the church chooses not to speak, it is speaking; and when the church chooses not to act, it is acting, said Hunt.
It is Hunt’s prayer that, after listening to each other, the church will “speak with a prophetic voice and act to address the real hurts and hopes of the world today.”
For him, church is not just talking about Gospel. It’s about being the Gospel, for children in Uganda, people on the streets of Baltimore, and each of God’s children throughout the world.