Brazil-based Missionaries to Receive World Methodist Peace Award

Marion and Anita WayMarion and Anita Way, husband and wife missionaries known for their work in Angola and Brazil are the winners of the 2013 World Methodist Peace Award. The award will be presented on September 12, 2013 at Wesley’s Chapel in London, United Kingdom during the World Methodist Council’s 2013 meeting.

As missionaries in Angola and Brazil, Marion and Anita Way used their faith to assist in the fight against political oppression, racism and other obstacles throughout their career.

In 1958, Marion and Anita served as missionaries in Angola during a time when Methodist churches were routinely accused of instigating the Angolan people to work towards independence from Portugal. In 1961 Marion was arrested, accused of conspiring and working openly in favor of the cause of the independence of Angola. He was jailed for two weeks in a special prison for political prisoners, to be transferred to Portugal.  After three months in jail without formal charges, he was released and expelled from the country.

In 1962, the Ways were sent by the General Board of Missions of the Church as missionaries to the First Methodist Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and there they served as Deacons of the Church to the Central People’s Institute (ICP). Marion developed various programs, including helping the poor of that area to develop job skills, such as typing, sewing, English classes and computer skills. Anita was responsible for Christian education, support services to needy children and served as a music teacher. She also created several junior and adult choirs in the community. Throughout their years of service, the Ways were always attentive to societal changes and constantly updated the needs that arose. In 1995, Anita was appointed to the Regional Team Working with the Children’s Area. Since 1983 Marion participated at the Head Office of Projects of the 1st Methodist Conference.

Despite obstacles, challenges and disappointments the Ways never abandoned their ideals in service of God. In those 54 years of continuous work the couple’s work has helped more than 15,000 children and 45,000 families, and more than 100,000 through the outreach that their organizations conduct.

Sadly, Marion Way died in May 2013, but his work alongside his wife Anita in Angola and Rio de Janeiro lives on as a testament to the power of mission. For their half-century of work in mission and bringing dignity and economic empowerment to the poor throughout Angola and Brazil, the World Methodist Council is proud to award the 2013 World Methodist Peace Award to Marion and Anita Way.

For more than three decades the World Methodist Council has presented the World Methodist Peace Award. Criteria for the award are courage, creativity and consistency in work and witness to peace.

The Peace Award concept was initiated in 1976 by Dr Stanley Leyland during the 13th WMC held in Dublin – during the time of intense conflict in Northern Ireland. It is reported that Leyland was so inspired by a presentation by Rev Eric Gallagher about the Northern Ireland conflict, that he moved that the World Methodist Peace Award be established in an effort to affirm peace.

 

The first award went to a peace maker from Northern Ireland, and the decision was for the award to be bestowed on activists “in other areas where the concern for peace is of a great consequence,” The World Methodist Peace Award Committee was subsequently established and selects a worthy recipient annually.

About The World Methodist Council

The World Methodist Council finds its origins in a conference held in London, England at Wesley’s Chapel in 1881 where some 400 delegates from 30 Methodist bodies around the world gathered in an Ecumenical Methodist Conference.  The World Methodist Council is composed of between 250 to 528 delegates elected from its member churches.   From 2001 onward, the Council has averaged at 400 members.  Representation is determined by Church membership and financial contribution to the work of the Council. In 1956, the World Methodist Council established a permanent headquarters in the United States at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina.

About the World Methodist Peace Award

First awarded in 1977, the World Methodist Peace Award is given semi-annually to a person or persons who have displayed courage, creativity and consistency in pursuing peace and equal rights for individuals throughout the world. Nominations may be made by leaders of the World Methodist Council’s Member Churches by submitting a letter highlighting the reason for the nomination and giving evidence of the fruit of the nominee’s efforts toward peace, etc. Prior recipients of the award include former South African President Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. Other recipients are former President of Macedonia Boris Trajkovski, the compassionate community of Sant’Egidio in Rome, and the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina.