Our Lenten journey is nearing an end for us this year, and once again we will be focused on Holy Week and Easter. What are you searching for this Easter?
If you ask some children, they may tell you, "colored eggs and chocolate!" But I think most of us are searching for things that are more lasting and permanent and satisfying. I believe that most of us are looking for relationships in which we can give of ourselves, and receive love and acceptance from others. Many are looking for ways to share their talents and blessings in ways that will make the world a better place. We are also looking to see the joy and delight in others who receive the blessings that we share gladly. And, sometimes we seek forgiveness from others and a new beginning; and, sometimes we seek those we need to forgive, offering a new start.
Often the Christian season of Lent is described as a spiritual journey. The starting point for our journey is Ash Wednesday and the destination is the cross and the empty tomb. I invite you to join with me and our sisters and brothers in faith as we take our annual Lenten journey.
Along the way, we will share the experiences again of God's love expressed so completely in the life and witness of the Christ. We will hear first-hand the stories of the acts of God's love poured out for all people. We will experience again the redeeming love that reminds us that we, and all who we journey with in life, are seen by God as beautiful, precious, and worthy of love. We will learn again (or maybe for the first time for some) that God in Jesus Christ wants a loving relationship with us, which is only possible when we are in relationship with Jesus, our neighborhoods, and the strangers we meet along the way.
It is an exciting time to be a United Methodist in Wisconsin and an inspiring time for me to be your bishop!
When I left Wisconsin after my election as a bishop, Wisconsin was launching a new way of being connected through Circuits. Since then, every congregation and clergy appointed to those congregations are connected to others within their areas for mutual ministry and support. Circuits are the Conference connections on a local level that build more connections to each of our congregations and circuits around the world.
Now, ten years later, after over a year of study and planning, Circuits are challenged to “relaunch”-- to Imagine Wisconsin Anew through our connections to each other. It is important for our future as a faith movement for all of our clergy and congregations to have training, resourcing, and support in order to engage with the people in our local communities, start new ministries with new people, and find ways to connect our faith in relationships with our neighbors.
I am excited to walk this journey with you--to build relationships, form partnerships, and live faithfully as followers of Jesus Christ. I hope and pray that you are excited too, and ready to launch into our future by joining others in building connections and relationships in Christ’s name.
Hee-Soo Jung, PhD
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