In 1767, John Wesley wrote a short treatise called, A Plain Account of Christian Perfection. In it, Wesley said that “perfection is the desire and goal of every Methodist,” and that, while nothing we could do by human means could achieve perfection, nonetheless God “perfects us in love.”  Bishop Jung said, “Looking at our United Methodist Church or our General Conference, or even our Wisconsin Annual Conference, you may say, ‘Come on! We are anything but perfect!’ But our God is a God of miracles, and God is perfecting us in love.”

Bishop said, “I give thanks to God and to all of you for my first quadrennium as bishop in Wisconsin. Four years! Four years of visioning. Four years of partnerships. Four years Imagining Wisconsin Anew. Four years building trust and good relationships. I am both humbled and joyous.”

In reflecting on General Conference this year, Bishop Jung explained that it was a good reminder that we cannot legislate grace. “Voting on our deepest held convictions can divide us and turn us into opponents. We need spaces where we can explore contrasting or conflicting visions, goals and opinions without fear of criticism or harm, he said.

We are entering the next phase of our efforts to Imagine Wisconsin Anew, Bishop said. This vision includes helping create new faith for new people in new places, revitalizing and reenergizing local church ministries, creating multicultural competency and engagement, serving the needs of people through mercy and justice ministries, and nourishing body, mind, soul and spirit through Soul Food.

Bishop Jung continued, “We are putting all the pieces in place that will help us ‘move onto perfection’. We have finished a full year with five new districts, each with its own district superintendent. Already, we are feeling the benefits of improved relationships. We are focusing on leadership and leadership development for new ministries, for emerging ministries, and for existing ministries. And we exist to make a difference in the world. We reached and exceeded our million dollar goal for Imagine No Malaria!”

“But this is not a time to rest on our laurels,” Bishop Jung explained, “As we celebrate a job well done, we see opportunities to reach new people. We see ways to improve and expand existing ministry. We see ways to grow commitment within our churches to equip us for even greater ministry and service. Wisconsin is changing, and by God’s grace our Church is changing to meet it! To realize our goals and live fully into God’s vision for our churches and our Annual Conference, we will need to raise funds in support of all our good work. But beyond fundraising, this is an opportunity at faith-raising.”

Bishop Jung concluded, “I cannot say we are perfect. But I will say that I am proud of all we have achieved together in four years, and I see God’s hand at work leading us into perfection. It is my privilege and honor to serve as your Bishop, and I know God will bless us all in the days to come.”

Click here to read his full address.