Bishop Heon Young Choi, Resident Bishop of the Dongbu Annual Conference of the Korean Methodist Church, delivered an inspirational opening sermon on Friday, June 16th during the Wisconsin Annual Conference. He began his presentation by presenting a gift of a colorful rainbow stole to Bishop Hee-Soo Jung. Bishop Choi thanked the Wisconsin Conference for welcoming his delegation of visitors, and for being in a sister partnership with the Dongbu Conference for the last 20 years. He said that he is also bringing thanks from the 677 churches in the Dongbu Conference. Bishop Choi explained that he came to our Conference 13 years ago as a delegate, and now comes as a Bishop. Bishop Jung, he said, was a colleague in seminary and is now an elder brother. “I am happy that he is the bishop of the Wisconsin Conference,” Bishop Choi said.

During his sermon, Bishop Choi reflected on the relationship between the two Conferences. He said, “I think God wanted us to come together to combine our strengths in order to fulfill God’s work.” He also explained that to restore God’s kingdom, we need to know his mind and will. We need to love God and love our neighbor. Bishop Choi told a story to illustrate these ideas about a rabbi who was reading a book. His disciples came into his office, and told him that they loved him so much. The rabbi asked, “Do you know what makes me sick?” The disciples didn’t respond, so the rabbi kept repeating the question. So the rabbi said, “How can you know me if you don’t know what makes me sick?” Bishop explained that to love someone is to know them deeply, not just the physical, but the invisible, the mind.

Bishop Choi said, “We have to follow God’s will and his word in order to participate in God’s work. By walking together and working together for God’s glory, our sister relationship can do more valuable work and fulfill God’s will. Many people need our help, so we need to work together to love them.”

An offering was taken during the Opening Worship for the Milwaukee Urban Ministry Fund. A total of $2,277.79 was collected, which included a donation from the Dongbu Conference. The Milwaukee Urban Ministry Fund helps local congregations in the Milwaukee central city seeking to provide innovative ministry options, training and resources for underserved communities.

Prior to the service, an Oneida drum circle called Sky Ridge shared songs and sanctified the plenary and worship space.