General Superintendent Emerita and Ambassador for The Wesleyan Church Reverend Dr. Jo Anne Lyon is the recipient of the World Methodist Council’s 2016 World Methodist Peace Award. The award will be presented to Dr. Lyon on September 3 at the World Methodist Council Conference, Houston, Texas.
Since 1977, the Peace Award has been the Council’s premier honor and is awarded annually to people who have displayed courage, creativity, and consistency in pursuing peace and equal rights for individuals throughout the world.
Previous recipients include President Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela, Boris Trajkovsky (Macedonia), The Community of St. Egidio (Rome), the Grandmothers of the Plaza De Mayo (Argentina), Rosalind Colwill (Nigeria), Joy Balazo (Asia and the Pacific), Rev. Mario and Anita Way for their work in poverty-stricken areas of Brazil, and most recently, Dr. and Mrs. Hugh G. Johnson for their lifelong work as missionaries in North Africa.
As the founder and former CEO (1996-2008) of World Hope International, Alexandria, Va., Dr. Lyon began that ministry in her home and, in twelve years, grew the organization to a $17 million global Christian relief and development agency serving in 30 countries and dedicated to alleviate suffering and injustice. She followed that by serving for eight years as General Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church.
Dr. Lyon states: “In this time, we care about needy and suffering people, about immigrants, about racial reconciliation, about refugees, about human trafficking, and about the equality of God’s image in women. The prophet Amos said: ‘But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!’ (5:24). Seeking justice alone can become all political. But righteousness without seeking justice for others leads to isolation from the world. We find that balance including both justice and righteousness, rooted in the Bible and in our historical identity.”
Dr. Lyon has served as the representative of The Wesleyan Church to the President of The United States Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, on the board of directors of many organizations including the National Association of Evangelicals Executive Committee, Christian Community Development Association, National Religious Partnership for the Environment, Asbury Theological Seminary, Council on Faith of the World Economic Forum, and as an Ex–Officio member for all Wesleyan institutions of higher education. The rich historical mission of The Wesleyan Church is committed to transforming lives, churches, and communities with the hope and holiness of Jesus Christ.
The recipient of five honorary doctorates, Dr. Lyon wrote the book, The Ultimate Blessing, and many articles for various publications. She served over 30 years in pastoral ministry with her husband. She also has been Adjunct Professor of Church and Society at Indiana Wesleyan University and Asbury Theological Seminary.
“When informed of her selection to receive this prestigious award, Jo Anne’s immediate response was that she didn’t deserve it,” said Dr. Wayne Schmidt, General Superintendent for The Wesleyan Church. “Her humility, combined with her drive and courage, is exactly why she is deserving of this honor. We celebrate her with thanksgiving for who she is and all that she has accomplished for God’s glory.”
The World Methodist Council is a Christian World Communion composed of 80 denominations, ministering to 80.5 million people in more than 134 countries around the world who share a common heritage that dates back to John Wesley.