The Wisconsin Conference of The United Methodist Church and the Dongbu (East) Conference of the Korean Methodist Church enjoy a deep "sister relationship" that has been ongoing for many years. This relationship is based on our common Wesleyan heritage, as well as a history of connections that go back to the days of the U.S. missionaries who established churches in the country of Korea more than 120 years ago. Together, the two Conferences joyously share the Good News of Jesus Christ in a multiplicity of places and cultural settings, and celebrate the diversity of our two countries and our shared traditions. The United Methodist Church is thriving in Korea today - there are more than 6,000 United Methodist Churches in the country, with more than 1.5 million church members and almost 10,000 pastors. (data as of 2010)
The Wisconsin Conference has strong ties to the Dongbu Conference and to Korea. Bishop Hee-Soo Jung, who leads the Wisconsin Conference, taught and chaired the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Kangnam University and Seminary in Kyungki-Do, South Korea. He has served as pastor of congregations in California, Texas and South Korea. He also was responsible for establishing a new Korean congregation at University United Methodist Church in Madison, Wisconsin.
Representatives of both Annual Conferences have made visits over several years and have shared educational, worship, and fellowship experiences together. The Sister Conference Relations Committee for Wisconsin has included Revs Forrest Wells, Mark Klaisner, and Yul Kwon, along with others. St. James in Appleton is partnered with the First Methodist Church in Wonju, South Korea. In 2013, a group of St. James laypersons traveled to South Korea to spend time learning and sharing with their sister congregation.
Our Conference encourages other Wisconsin congregations to connect with those in Korea. The future is bright for the continued exchange and for a growing relationship between the Wisconsin and Dongbu Conferences.