My brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus:
I wish you a blessed Advent Season and Christmastime, and much joy in the coming year.
I pray for you and the vital and courageous work you do in God’s mission. We stand together on the brink of an exciting day in the whole Christian church and new opportunities for us as United Methodists.
How thrilling it is to see the spread of the gospel and the church throughout the Global South -- evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in our world today. We can do so much to support this reality and to encourage and equip those called to lead and to serve in this movement. I pray that the United Methodist enthusiasm we see in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Southeast Asia will inspire within the church in the United States a new Great Awakening for the 21st century! Our churches and conferences can do so much to promote new faith communities in new places around the globe.
Our General Board of Global Ministries is living into a new operational reality as we make our new home in Atlanta and open regional offices in Latin America, Asia, and eventually in Africa. Our recommitment to global health and the wellness of all people is grand and noble. Together, we can leave behind a scarcity mentality and share in God’s rich abundance and continual providence.
We are seeing our whole planet as an arena of mission – every land on earth is both sending and receiving missionaries as the Good News of Jesus Christ is spread among all people. The wider the span of our faith, the more important is every local faith community, each congregation finding its place in the worldwide body of Christ.
I am sustained in joy by the ever-growing outward focus of our local churches as they serve not only local needs but those of their regions and the entire world. We meet Jesus out in the world as we work for mercy and justice for all. As we engage with more people in more places, and in more ways, we become the church God calls us to be -- understanding “church” not as a place we attend once a week, but the place we worship God, grow in fellowship, and where we are equipped to be the people of God in the world.
The General Board of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) are among the instruments through which God’s ministry is accomplished and God’s will is realized. We are dedicated to the spiritual and physical healing of the people of Earth and of the planet itself, spreading the Good News of God’s love, responding to natural disaster, offering aid where there is human need, protecting the environment, and bringing hope in the face of devastation.
I am honored to serve the General Board of Global Ministries, and Global Ministries’ directors and staff join me in wishing you every blessing as you celebrate Christmas and the New Year.
In Christian love,
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung