The Office of Mission, Service and Justice and the Mozambique Team are excited to announce Craig Stevenson as the new Associate Director for the Mozambique Initiative (MI). Upon accepting the position Craig shared, "I am honored to continue building upon the foundation set forth by my predecessors, Carol Kreamer and Sarah Bollinger. The MI is well positioned for growth and transformation in both Missouri and Mozambique for the glory of the Kingdom." Stevenson will start in the new role on October 12.
Since 1998, the Missouri Annual Conference and the Igreja Metodista Unida Em Mozambique have partnered together to holistically transform people and their communities toward the image of Christ. Three key ministry areas help focus that work: transforming the body, transforming the heart and mind and transforming the community.
"The Mozambique Initiative is a fruitful and innovative ministry that reflects a new type of connectionalism sustained by direct personal relationships, congregational contact, and frequent communication with little superstructure or centralization," explained Bishop Robert Schnase. "Visionary leadership for this ministry is vital and I look forward to seeing how Craig carries this partnership, together with Ezequiel Marcos Nhantumbo our MI representative in Maputo, into the future."
Stevenson comes to the MI after spending the last five years in the Office of University Relations at the University of Missouri. He most recently served as the lead for healthcare legislative policy and director of federal relations. Born and raised in Rolla, Stevenson is a first generation college graduate and earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a Master of Public Administration with a specialization in nonprofit management from the University of Missouri.
"Craig's passion for Mozambique, education in nonprofit management, and relational skills make him an excellent candidate for this position," said Jeff Baker, Director of the Office of Mission, Service and Justice. "I look forward to working with him as he shares his energy and excitement for this transforming ministry."
Yvi Martin, chair of the Mozambique Initiative concurred: "There are no other conferences in the UMC that have the special connection Missouri has with Mozambique, and so we celebrate the MI in a new era of growth. Under Craig's leadership, I am confident we will engage even more churches in this cross-cultural ministry that shows us a fuller picture of the Body of Christ."
Stevenson has been an active member in the Annual Conference for more than a decade from youth and campus ministry to most recently attending a Candidacy Summit for those exploring ministry as vocation. He has traveled to Mozambique three times, most recently leading a team of 14 people from across the country last month. Since 2013, he has served as president of the Mozambique Orphanage Fund, a 501(c)3 organization to help support the Carolyn Belshe Orphanage at the Cambine Mission Station. Craig and his wife, Brittney, live in Hallsville, Missouri, and are currently foster parents to a 16-year old. He enjoys running half marathons, St. Louis Cardinals baseball, and playing board games with friends and family.
The Mozambique Initiative (MI) is a holistic ministry based on partnership with the Igreja Metodista Unida Em Mozambique. Its focus is on enabling the sustainability of United Methodist communities in Mozambique, so that they might be the catalyst for growth and development in their region. This past year, the MI developed resources to tell our story in new ways through congregations in Missouri. These new ways of sharing the story of this transformative ministry include video material, a 4-week curriculum guide and recorded original Mozambican music. Visit http://www.mzinitiative.com/ for more information.