UMNS Photo by Mike DuBose
Members of the "Love Your Neighbor" coalition lived up to their motto April 22 when representatives of the group rescued 17 international delegates who were stranded at Tampa International Airport after weather delays.
Jill A. Warren, executive director of one of the coalition partners, Methodist Federation for Social Action, told the story in the group's April 23 e-newsletter:
"Last night [April 22] we arranged to pick up three Africa University students from the Tampa airport with whom we connected on our pre-General Conference briefing trip to Harare. Their flight was delayed in DC due to weather and they arrived very late -- about 1 a.m.
"When we got there we met 17 other delegates stranded due to flight delays, with no money, no one to contact and limited English speaking skills. Somehow their delay wasn't communicated to the Conference or local hospitality team and they were stuck.
"Luckily we had rented a mini-van and could make a couple of trips to get everyone safely to their hotel -- finally completing this last-minute hospitality at 2 a.m. (along with a drive-thru trip to 24-hr. McDonald's since they hadn't had a meal in 12 hours)."
Warren ended the account by describing the effort as "the kind of work we're doing -- extending hospitality, making connections and building relationships -- for peace, justice and full inclusion of all people."
Love Your Neighbor is a coalition of unofficial United Methodist caucuses that have joined together to promote racial, ethnic and gender equality at the 2012 General Conference. In addition to MFSA, coalition partners include Affirmation, Black Methodists for Church Renewal, Native American International Caucus of the UMC, National Federation of Asian American United Methodists and Reconciling Ministries Network. This is the first General Conference in United Methodist history when caucuses seeking racial-ethnic justice have joined with groups favoring gender equality to support the inclusion of all in The United Methodist Church.