In his State of the Church Address, Bishop Hee-Soo Jung, said that the Church is in a turbulent and chaotic time. But he said “Now is a critical time for us to answer loud and clear, “Yes, Lord, we have faith!” He explained, “This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. It is a powerful reminder that the Church has weathered turbulent times in the past, and will continue to do so in the future.”  At this time, he said, “it is imperative that we raise our voice together – one with Christ – to proclaim our faith. As so many in the world seek to divide, we open our hearts, minds, and doors to bring all brothers and sisters into the family of God.”

Bishop said, “Certainly, we still experience the storms. There is a storm in our Church over sexual orientation and gender identity.” But we have faith that our Commission on a Way Forward, formed at the last General Conference to guide us through the storm, will serve us well, he said. According to the Bishop, there are other storms in our Conference. “But I believe Christ is helping me be the shepherd for our leaders; to help them navigate the waters when they get stirred up,” he said.

We have proven our faithfulness in what we accomplished in our Fund for Discipleship, the expansion of our camp facilities, and our Imagine No Malaria campaign, Bishop said, “and I have no doubt we will rise to the occasion to fund vital mission and ministry in the future.”

Bishop explained, “We hit some rough weather with our capital campaign, but the message was “not yet, the time is not yet ripe.” However, the Feasibility Study Project Team learned so much valuable insight that will create a roadmap for funding critical ministry in our Conference, said.

We are growing stronger in our financial stewardship, Bishop said, and are poised to see great improvement in our apportionment giving. “Our Council on Finance and Administration is leading our Conference in a shift from scarcity thinking to a place of sufficiency from abundance. Along with our Cabinet, CF&A is working to help us allocate existing resources more effectively, while creatively seeking new ways to fund critical ministry,” Bishop said

Bishop explained that he sees God at work through the Council of Bishops, and our renewed commitment to the Four Focus Areas of The United Methodist Church: Engaging in Ministry with the Poor, Improving Health Globally, Developing Principled Christian Leaders, and Creating New and Renewed Congregations. “If we were to successfully improve in just these four areas,” Bishop said, “we would equip millions of people to faithfully live their discipleship in world transforming ways.”

These four focus areas are at the heart and soul of Imagine Wisconsin Anew – and our journey together to Make A-New Wisconsin, Bishop said. Together, we can launch new ministries across our Conference, he said, “We can renew our existing churches to become high performing vital ministries. We can develop and support mercy and justice ministries in every community in Wisconsin. We can open our arms, our hearts, and our doors to receive new and different generations and cultures. And we can feed the hunger of a broken and hurting world. There is nothing that is beyond our abilities and capacities if we will join together, one with Christ, and loudly proclaim, “Yes, Lord, we have faith!”

Bishop concluded, “If we will seek unity in the mission of our Church and our Lord, then we will be the Wisconsin Conference God needs us to be”

Click here to read the full State of the Church Address.