As the days lengthen and the sun begins to warm the earth around us, our thoughts often turn to planting flowers and vegetables. On a recent trip to my home country of South Korea, I had the opportunity to work with my family there in some spring preparations and planting. This brought back many memories of my younger years when I helped grow food for our family, and reminded me again of our connection to the earth and the bountiful resources the earth provides us. It also reminds me of how blessed we are as Wisconsin United Methodists with strong, generous, faithful leaders and workers dedicated to sharing and sowing the love of God in Jesus Christ with neighbors here and around the world.
In June, when most of our gardens and flowers are planted and we hope growing well, laity and clergy from our Wisconsin United Methodist connection will gather to sow a different kind of seed—a seed that we pray will produce ever abundant Fruit of the Spirit for the congregations and communities of Wisconsin. As we gather, my prayer is for all of us to remember the wisdom of Scripture found throughout the ancient texts, for example, “What I mean is this: the one who sows a small number of seeds will also reap a small crop, and the one who sows a generous amount of seeds will also reap a generous crop.” 2 Corinthians 9:6 (CEB), and“Those who give generously receive more, but those who are stingy with what is appropriate will grow needy. Generous persons will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Proverbs 11: 24-25 (CEB)
I am excited about the good number of seeds we are sowing at this year’s Annual Conference. When we gather, we will launch our Wisconsin Imagine No Malaria campaign and continue on our goal of adding a million dollars to the effort to save children from premature death from malaria. We will commission, ordain, license, and welcome new clergy for deployment in ministry in congregations and other ministry opportunities around the world. We will dedicate a new Deaconess for faithful service and ministry here in Wisconsin. We will be challenged to Imagine Wisconsin Anew with new faith development for new people in every region, and the creation of 5 new districts from the existing 8, adding one district superintendent to the Cabinet in July of 2015.
So, we roll up our sleeves and prepare ourselves for the work that is set before us with prayer, study, conversation, and shared discernment always open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We know that we sow, but it is God who gives life, and we are thankful for the privilege of participating in God’s abundance.
Grace and Peace,
Hee-Soo Jung, PhD
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has served as resident bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference since September of 2012. Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area).