Almost everywhere I travel in Wisconsin these days, I see signs of autumn. It is so wonderful to experience the changing of the leaves to amazingly beautiful fall colors, and the abundant blessings in this harvest season. In the seasonal changes of Wisconsin, as in all of the changes that come in life, God shows us hospitality and the welcoming, encouraging bounty of God’s creation.
I hope you join me in the ever-growing excitement of the many changes happening around Wisconsin and within the Wisconsin Conference. I pray that the Holy Spirit continues to join with us in mission and ministry as we experience God in each other and in the bountiful fruit that comes from our life together. The fruit we are producing as disciples of Jesus in the congregations of Wisconsin makes me want to shout for joy!
Today our “Imagine Wisconsin Anew” focus is moving from imagining to “Living Wisconsin Anew” by taking the necessary steps toward radical discipleship leading to transformation of our lives, congregations, and world. Wisconsin United Methodists are not just imagining, but are actively engaging, equipping, and deploying as disciples of Jesus Christ into the world and neighborhoods around us as God’s instruments of transforming good.
We are eager to receive what God challenges us to act on to bring Christ’s transforming power to our life in Wisconsin. Here are some of the things I see as changes that God can use to sharpen our focus on mission and ministry in the world:
The Redistricting Task Force is working to produce a model for the Cabinet and me to consider as we redraw our current eight districts into five new districts. The change to new districts and an additional district superintendent will increase our ability to foster deeper relationships, and increase our capacity for innovation and creativity. Please join me in praying that the redistricting will increase our ability to connect with each other and help us build healthy, outward focused ministry to the world through innovation, risk-taking, and creativity, with mutual support and trust.
Circuit 2.0 Leadership Training
It is so exciting that after two years of study, imagining, and preparation, we are now inviting lay and clergy leaders to be equipped and resourced for developing the congregation as a discipleship system in our local churches. Join me in praying that those who participate in the disciple systems training for congregations will discover what God is seeking to reform and make new in our existing congregations.
Imagine No Malaria Commitment
We have committed to raise one million dollars for Imagine No Malaria in Wisconsin. This urgent call for life-saving mission in the world is one of the ways God moves us from living in the fear of scarcity to living in the midst of abundance. God has already begun the wonderful work of helping us and our entire United Methodist Church save the lives of children. I know you join me in this exciting opportunity to make a life-changing difference in the world.
Almost everything is shifting and changing, but the Gospel remains as the foundation and core for us. God seeks through the good news of Jesus to bring transformation. The constant message from Jesus is that the Gospel is to be proclaimed in word and deed and practiced in all aspects of our life together. Change rooted in faith allows the Holy Spirit to move deeply into Wisconsin United Methodism.
I was sent to Wisconsin to be a servant leader among you. I am truly blessed by our common spiritual thread and very glad to share this exciting journey through change with you.
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).