Young Adult Missionaries are Commissioned for Global Service
By Ivy Couch*
Unity and diversity within the church were the themes of the August 2 service of commissioning for 45 new young adult missionaries. This momentous occasion at the General Board of Global Ministries headquarters concluded three weeks of orientation. These new United Methodist missionaries represent 22 countries. They will serve in 27 countries around the world. Another 19 will be commissioned in Seoul, Korea, later in August.
45 newly commissioned Global Mission Fellows. PHOTO: CYNTHIA MACK
The service began in song as 85 voices of the Pacific Islanders Young Adult Choir filled the chapel with sounds of hope. Thomas Kemper, chief executive of Global Ministries, welcomed everyone in the name of unity, asking those present and those watching from around the world via live-stream to greet one another. He spoke of the contributions that they each gathered must offer, despite a world growing less hospitable, marking the importance of serving from for “everywhere to everywhere”.
Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson of the North Georgia Annual Conference presided over the commissioning. In her sermon, she encouraged the 45 missionaries of the Global Mission Fellows program to embrace their call as did the disciples Jesus sent into the world. She stressed that Jesus has gone before them to welcome them into ministry and urged them not to be afraid. She told them that “you will find things that challenge your faith, but be one of the repairers of the breach, as ambassadors of Jesus Christ.” She encouraged them to embrace the newness of the culture in which they will be immersing themselves.
A “liturgy of placement” was one of the highlights of the service. Each young adult missionary came forth to mark-- on a large canvas of the world--, their place of origin and their mission destination. This symbolized the theme of “everywhere to everywhere,” illustrating the departure from one place to serve in a new place.
"From everywhere to everywhere."
The commissioning was live-streamed around the world via the internet. To view the ceremony from yesterday, please see the link below.
PHOTO: JENNIFER SILVER
The formal commissioning-laying on of hands followed as the bishop, Thomas Kemper, the Rev. Dr. Judy Chung, and various members of staff leadership of Global Ministries executive leadership team blessed touched each young adult missionary as they knelt. An anchor cross, the symbol of United Methodist mission service was presented to each fellow by Hannah Hanson, the director of Young Adult Mission Service. After the commissioning and presentation, all 45 of the fellows stood together and confirmed their call to missionary service by reciting the Wesley Covenant Prayer, which says in part:
“I am no longer my own, but yours. Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be put to work for you or set aside for you.... ...O wonderful and holy God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, you are mine, and I am yours. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it also be made in heaven. Amen.”
The service culminated with a benediction and another resounding song from the Pacific Islanders Young Adult Choir. (The choir was in Atlanta for the annual caucus of Pacific Islanders and was invited to participate in the commissioning.)
The following are the names of the 45 young adult missionaries commissioned during the service, indicating home country and country of service. Out of the 45 fellows commissioned, ten are US-2 missionaries within the United States, and the other 35 are on the international track.
If you are interested in becoming a Global Mission Fellow visit: https://gbgm.embark.com/auth/login
*Ivy Couch is the Missionary Service program area liaison for Global Ministries.