Bill Mefford of the General Board of Church and Society will speak at the Peace With Justice luncheon at noon on Monday, June 11, at the Holston Annual Conference in Lake Junaluska, N.C.
The luncheon will be held in Terrace Hotel, room 316. Participants should go through the cafeteria line or bring their lunches before gathering in 316. The Peace With Justice luncheon is sponsored by Holston's Outreach/Advocacy Team.
As director of civil and human rights director based in Washington, D.C., Mefford helps to build movements among United Methodists to defend the rights of immigrants as well as to end mass incarceration and bring about criminal justice reform. He also advocates for an end to gun violence, for religious freedom, and to abolish the death penalty.
"The pervasive call on followers of Jesus is to welcome sojourners and to advocate for the poor," Mefford said of the message he will share with Holston Conference. "But how do we live this out in our communities and in our churches? How do we live in right relationships with Jesus, with immigrants, and with those in our communities who have been in the US for generations?
"It's time to move beyond education and into a missional engagement that builds community and defends and supports the rights of the most vulnerable," he said.
Mefford came to the GBCS in 2006 and has spent his life serving the local church in various positions. He has served as a youth pastor, pastor, Wesley Foundation director, and an urban missionary in cities including Chicago, Cleveland, and Waco, Texas.
He graduated from McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, in 1990. He graduated with a Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in 1998 and a Doctor of Missiology, also from Asbury, in 2008. The title of his dissertation is, "To Set Free the Affluent: Liberating the North American Church in Captivity through Solidarity with Refugees."
Mefford's wife, Marti, is a social worker and counselor at a substance abuse treatment center in Arlington, Va. They have two sons, Elisha, age 13 and Isaiah, 9.
See also: Mefford's blog at www.jeremiahweeping.blogspot.com.