The Methodist work in the Vojvodina (the northern part of what is now Serbia) was started more than 115 years ago. German missionaries established local churches among German emigrants – and this was the reason why the churches were exclusively German-speaking until 1904. In the following years the work grew, and thriving new churches were born among other population groups, as well. But there were not only joy and growth, the church experienced persecution, suffering, isolation and setbacks, as well – mostly because of political reasons.
Today a varied children’s and youth ministry, Christian outreach programs, local and regional activities for women and men as well as practical help for people in need are some of the priorities of the local churches, which combine both the proclamation of the Gospel and love in action. In a country still falling on hard times while looking for a future, they aim to help people to discover God’s love – beyond any border of ethnicity.
The fact that a new generation has accepted the calling into the ministry of the church and is taking the lead regarding this aim is an important sign and a source of hope.
Despite political separation of their countries, the local churches in Serbia and Macedonia still belong to the same Annual Conference.
Population: 7.5 millions
Area: 77,474 km2
UM congregations: 14
Professing members: 472
Active Clergy: 12
In all countries of Central and Southern Europe, The United Methodist Church is a minority church. However, an example from Serbia underlines once again that this does not mean that the UMC would not have any positive impact on society or that it would go completely unnoticed.
During the most recent meeting of Serbia-Macedonia Provisional Annual Conference, which took place from April 12 to 15, 2018, in Kisač (Serbia), an important changeover was celebrated: Rev. Daniel Sjanta was appointed as the new superintendent of The United Methodist Church in the Serbian District. He follows Rev. Ana Palik-Kunčak in this leadership position.
Summer 2017 is history – for a long time already. However, children in East Central Europe still remember this time – and at various places, they are already looking forward to summer 2018. The reason is the «United Methodist Play-Mobil». Klaus Gottschalk, a co-worker at the Tent Mission, looks back to blessed days.