Gratitude for Re-Assignment
by Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
Each day begins with blessing, movement, and the increase of light.
The blessings of life we experience in Wisconsin are no less than amazing. God’s transformative ways are unstoppable and present with each passing day. In God’s abundant grace we share this experience of life together in relationships that make known Jesus the Christ.
After the close of the North Central Jurisdictional Conference, I gave thanks as I saw God’s relentless solidarity with the United Methodist Church moving us in power and love and leading us into the future.
At a time when the uncertainties of the denomination and with more challenges of the pandemic were still vivid, I could not foresee what the Conference would be like. I prayed fervently for the Holy Spirit to move powerfully so that peace and justice might prevail.
All of us at the Conference tasted the atmosphere of God’s Spirit refining our identity with hearts strangely warmed.
It was great faith and imagination for the kin-dom of God that surfaced the best of us, and it was beautiful to see the North Central Jurisdictional Conference raise wise leaders, electing three gifted bishops among us.
It was a special grace to experience no obstacles put in the way of those who love the Lord to seriously discuss the challenges and dialogue about all that is before us, seeking the Lord's will.
It was a week of learning about anti-racism, LGBTQIA+ exclusion, a week of hearts humbled by stories of our life together discerning the greater will of God. With the scriptural theme of Philippians 3:14 and ‘Press On,’ we left with the determination to press on seeking the kingdom of God and Christ-like Christian community.
I always call the Wisconsin Conference and its leaders, ‘Beautiful People.’ It's not rhetorical, I call it that because I see a holistic, united, and beautiful community. I am so grateful to be re-assigned as your bishop. I am humbled by your trust. Once again, the delegation representing our Wisconsin Conference showed great unity in prayer and gifts for building up the whole church.
It was powerfully inspiring to see one of our clergy, Rev. Dan Schwerin, elected as a bishop, and to see the widespread support for his leadership. This was a deep affirmation of the ministry we share across our annual conference of which we are all servants.
Now let’s pray as he and Julie go to serve the Northern Illinois Conference where he will serve as a bishop. We are reminded again that we must be the ones who respond to the call of Christ, that all of us are called by God and equipped wherever we are sent to serve whether that be in a classroom or kitchen or playground.
The Lord is calling us--urging us to live a life as servants and stewards, so that the world can know the gospel, and experience God’s Shalom. The church is calling us to stand up for peace in a world of alienation and sorrow.
Please receive my gratitude and respect. We thank God that we will serve as your episcopal servant for the next two years. We appreciate your prayers and love for me and my wife, Im. We are blessed to live among you. The Church is of God and will prevail as a humble instrument to heal and serve.
There will be a celebration for Bishop Schwerin in a service of worship on Saturday, December 17, 11am, at First UMC Waukesha, 121 Wisconsin Ave., Waukesha, WI 53186. Refreshments will follow. In lieu of gifts consider a contribution to either the ‘Keep Our Story Growing’ capital campaign at Sun Prairie UMC where Julie has been worshipping, or the Wisconsin Conference Boy Scouts’ Survivors Fund, a feature of Dan’s ministry. Thank you.
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).