Advent greetings from our Board President
By Hee-Soo Jung, Bishop*
One with Christ,
One with each other,
One in ministry to all the world!
This is a declaration we make when we celebrate communion together as United Methodists. We are one in our witness and service throughout our global community. In the Advent season, preparing for the miracle of Christmas, I commend you all for your commitment, your generosity, your response to natural and human-made disasters, and your radical faithfulness in discipleship. I am honored and humbled to serve in the capacity of President for our General Board of Global Ministries. This has been an unusually challenging year, yet we can be proud and grateful for the abundant generosity of all our people.
There is much in our day to parallel the ancient world waiting for a Savior. There is deep political unrest and widespread distrust. Anxiety and fear for the future expand like a virus. Displacement impacts more and more people, losing homeland and becoming refugees and migrants. There is a deep hunger for peace and security in a world of chaos and uncertainty. The ministry we provide is precious and perhaps never more valuable and necessary.
I have called upon our President of the United States to lead for peace and justice. Our country and our church can play such vital roles in situations of global tension and violence. We must be a voice of calm and reason with North Korea, with Syria, with Iraq and Afghanistan. We must build bridges with our Muslim brothers and sisters, and not stir up discord. We must avoid accusatory rhetoric that divides and destroys instead of grace-filled proclamation that invites and unites. We stand in a position of great power, and with this power comes a sacred trust – from our perspective, to do no harm and to do all the good that we can.
Matthew reminds us, “All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel’, which means, ‘God is with us.’” (Matthew 1:22-23) It is vitally important that we never forget – God is with us! And it is equally important that the marginalized and oppressed know that God is with them, and we carry that message wherever we go through our efforts in global ministry.
Brothers and sisters, God is with us! Through our efforts in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Through our active response in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas. Through ongoing mission initiatives at home and around the world, GBGM witnesses to the truth: God is with us.
May you all have a blessed Advent, a glorious Christmas, and a bountiful New Year!
*Hee-Soo Jung, Bishop