Beginning September 1, I am Bishop of the Wisconsin Episcopal Area for four more years. I am so thankful to God for this opportunity to continue to serve you as Bishop. I love the beautiful people of Wisconsin and am joyful to return. We have done so much together, and we have so much yet to do! I pray every day for a spirit of abundance and vitality in all of our churches.
Over the past four years, Wisconsin has faced some hard realities. Some churches struggled; a few failed; and there was healing work to do all across our Conference. I thank God that the faithful leadership of this Conference trusted me so that we could make some very important decisions and changes. Moving to five districts, with five district superintendents was a large leap of faith, but we made it, and it has done so much good. We have joined together to “Imagine Wisconsin Anew” in our local churches and throughout the Conference. We have revitalized and relaunched our circuit ministries with clearer purpose and direction. We raised over $1 million for Imagine No Malaria. We have launched new, exciting, and healthy ministries in every region of the state. We are doing more to reach out and serve our communities than ever before. It is an exciting time to be in ministry in the Wisconsin Conference.
But we are not satisfied to rest on our past achievements. We ask in humble faith, “where else is God leading us?” What steps must we take to move forward in faithful service and unity? What can we do to become a catalyst for igniting gospel values for transformation and sparking a new understanding of God’s abundance for ministry and service? What might we do differently to be even more faithful as God uses us for healing, grace and new life?
As we live together into the new four years, I invite everyone to make a commitment to unity, healing, and grace. We will not survive if we continue to define ourselves by our differences. It is in that which unites us and gives us our Christian identity that we find strength and a vision for the future. We must engage more actively in the healing and restoration of our cities, towns, and villages. Milwaukee is a clear illustration of the need for hope. The Church must step up to offer a bigger vision of mercy and justice, a brighter future for those losing hope, and a broader compassion that moves people from complacency to action. There is no room for passive discipleship – we must live our faith in our communities for the transformation of the world.
I will be working with principled Christian leaders throughout our Conference – as well as ecumenically and inter-faith – to create within Wisconsin a “grace-margin” – space where we can set aside our agendas and our opinions to discern together God’s will and God’s way. Our faith is the foundation and support for our ministry. Our strategy for transformation will be a faith strategy – how Wisconsin United Methodists will live their faith for the good and service of others.
I ask for your prayers and loving support as I serve Wisconsin four more years. I humbly rejoice with my Wisconsin church family. God is doing wonderful things among us, and I am honored to be your servant leader in such a time as this. Blessings!
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).