Soul Food Monthly Newsletter Wisconsin Conference UMCGreetings and thank you for spending some reflective time with me. I’d like to share my thoughts on my experiences since I came back to Wisconsin, as well as our priorities as we look forward to the New Year. One of the most exciting things happening right now is my visits to local churches and circuits. I’ve been to 7 circuits and visited with 70 congregations. My journey will continue through 2013 and I hope to visit all of you by this time next year.

The Cabinet and I are in the process of further strengthening our supervision system. Starting in 2013, the District Superintendents will meet one-on-one with each of the clergy in their districts at least once every other year. These meetings are in addition to all of the other contact the Cabinet has with clergy and lay leadership. I’m also very excited about the development of District Strategy teams. On January 19th, the Cabinet and others whom I’ve invited will join me in a training session for the District Strategy Teams. Led by the District Superintendents, these teams will identify places to plant new faith communities, and justice and mercy ministries, as well as ways to reach new, young and diverse people for Jesus Christ throughout Wisconsin.

I consider my leadership role in the General Church another high priority. I am honored to serve as President of UMCOR, and oversee the outreach of our United Methodist connection wherever there is a disaster requiring a response from us. I’m very pleased with the tremendous work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. As President of the Korean Ministry Plan, I help support the Church in their efforts to serve Korean people in the United States and in the world. And as a leader of JustPeace ministries for the whole church, I help support a network of individuals and congregations who are dedicated to bringing forth a culture of just peace to communities, the nation, and the world. I’m very glad to offer leadership in these very important ministries.

I also wanted to share our priorities for the upcoming quadrennium in Wisconsin. As United Methodists, we have four areas of focus, and they are also our focus here in Wisconsin. First, eliminating diseases by improving health globally. Second, engaging in ministry with the poor. Third, creating new places for new people and revitalizing existing congregations. And, fourth, developing principled Christian leaders for the Church and the world.

Additionally, I invite all in Wisconsin to focus on our new fruit-producing strategy. We, as Wisconsin United Methodists, are moving from a mindset of scarcity, to abundance -- knowing that God has richly blessed us and we have much to share. We are moving from retention to recruitment. Not just focusing on current ministries and church members, but rather focusing on those we don’t yet know, and who we want to invite to share the faith journey with us. Together, we will imagine God’s kingdom in our communities and pursue new possibilities all over Wisconsin. We are moving to recognizing and including all God’s gifted people, and developing strategies to welcome all people and celebrate the wonderful diversity of people here in Wisconsin.

I realize that everything I have outlined will take time. But there are some things you can do now. You can pray for each other, pray for our leaders, pray for our congregations…and please also pray for those who are marginalized and in need!

We know that we have been created by God to be part of a community, not isolated individuals. So, I pray that we will form many partnerships and shared efforts in the years to come. If we do, I know God will bless our efforts and we will see a revitalized United Methodist presence throughout Wisconsin. I’m grateful for all of the prayers, and all those who are working together for good and for God.

A traditional New Year greeting in Korean is: Saehae bok manhi baduseyo, which means, “hope you receive a lot of new years’ blessings”. I know we in Wisconsin will receive many blessings from God in the year ahead. This is my prayer: May God richly bless each of us with generosity and purpose in the New Year and beyond. We hope you will join us in living the fruit of the spirit. Amen!

God's Blessing!
Hee-Soo Jung, PhD
Bishop