It is often said that life is a process of transitions; a continuous series of beginnings and endings. In the United Methodist Church in Wisconsin, July is a month of transitions as we begin a new Conference year, clergy move to new appointments, and congregations welcome new pastoral leadership. Transitions can be both exciting and challenging. Challenging, because we are forced to face new things, meet new expectations, and interact with new people. And, exciting for all the same reasons! As your bishop, I am praying for all of the transitions that are happening right now. I pray all involved and affected will grow and learn in the process.
We are also in a transition over the next year as five districts are formed from the existing eight and new leadership is named and prepared for their transitions in July of 2015. In the next months, our task force will be hard at work developing a strategy for consultation and the formation of a new district plan. It is my expectation that the Cabinet and I will be prepared to provide the details of the new districts in January of 2015.
As I consider all the transitions of life, a Scripture passage come to mind. The story is found in Joshua in the very first chapter where we find the transition from the leadership of Moses to the leadership of Joshua. In Chapter 1, after the death of Moses, the Lord speaks to Joshua and in verse nine we read, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” These words, and all of the preparations, guided Joshua in his transition.
I pray the same will be true for all of our transitions. I pray that we will remain connected to the source of power and love, and thereby remain strong and courageous, even when the transitions are difficult. And, I pray, we will be filled with hope and confidence knowing that God is with us wherever we go.
God bless our transitions!
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).