Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

"How beautiful are the feet...." Seventeen New Missionaries are Blessed

By Ivy Couch* 

Four bishops from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) joined staff members from Global Ministries, in washing the feet of 17 new missionaries at the high point in a service of blessing and thanksgiving.
 Bishops and commisioned missionaries 480.jpgMissionaries and their families joined by the bishops at the blessing service. PHOTO: CYNTHIA MACK

The service was built around the theme of Romans10:15, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news.” It concluded three weeks of orientation for the new missionaries who are from six countries and will be sent to serve in eight countries. The blessing took place in the sanctuary of Global Ministries’ headquarters at Grace United Methodist Church.

All 17 missionaries, will be formally commissioned (sent) by bishops at their home annual (regional) conferences in the late spring and early summer.

The ceremony of blessing and foot washing was based on a passage from John 13:1–17 in which Jesus washes the 12 disciples’ feet. The new missionaries came in groups of three to have their feet washed by the bishops from DRC or staff members of Global Ministries.
 Thomas Kemper 480.jpgThomas Kemper washing Elizabeth Heft's feet at the blessing service. PHOTO: CYNTHIA MACK

Earlier in the liturgy, the missionaries, in union, confirmed their call to missionary service by saying:

“We dared to give our hearts to perfect love. God listened to our prayer and brought us to this moment of blessing possibility, and joy. Blessed be the name of our God forever and ever’. 

The Congolese bishops, three newly elected, were in the United States following a meeting of the Council of Bishops in Dallas, Texas, and came to Atlanta to meet with Global Ministries staff. 

Newly elected are Bishop Mande Muyombo of North Katanga, a former Global Ministries executive; Bishop Kasap Owan of South Congo, and Bishop Daniel Lunge Onashuyaka of Central Congo. The fourth, Bishop Gabriel Unda Yemba of East Congo was recently elected to life episcopacy. United Methodist bishops outside the United States are elected to various terms. 

The service of blessing was live streamed around the world via Internet. If you would like to view the foot washing service from yesterday, please see video below: 

 Watch the live stream of the blessing service. 

The 17 new missionaries will serve in one of three categories of service. Their names, service placement, home conference and bishop expected to commission them are as follows:

Church and Community Workers (assigned in the United States)

  • Joanne Marie Davis: Hope in the Mountains (West Virginia Annual Conference); Missouri Annual Conference; Bishop Bob Farr

  • Janet L. Horman: Justice for Our Neighbors Florida (Florida Annual Conference); Florida Annual Conference; Bishop Kenneth H. Carter 

  • Quest J. Hunter: Global Ministries community engagement (North Georgia Annual Conference); New York Annual Conference; Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton

  • Global Missionaries: 

  • John-Paul Dietrich: South Congo Episcopal Area project coordinator; Switzerland-France-North Africa Annual Conference; commissioning to be arranged (TBA) 

  • Elizabeth Heft: Jerusalem School Bethlehem, Palestine/Israel; West Ohio Annual Conference; Bishop Gregory V. Palmer 

  • Jin Yang Kim: World Council of Churches, coordinator of Korean Peninsula Dialogue and Peacekeeping Geneva, Switzerland; Northern Illinois Annual Conference, Bishop Sally Dyck 

  • Andrew Soon Lee: Country coordinator, Cambodia; California-Pacific Annual Conference; Bishop Grant J. Hagiya 

  • Erica Kay Oliveira: Mission advocate, Generation Transformation, Global Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia; South Carolina Annual Conference; Bishop L. Jonathan Holston 

  • Tazvionepi Nyarota: Pastor to Zimbabwean community; Western Canada/United Church of Canada; commissioning TBA 

  • Carmen Ana Perez-Rios: Serving in the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico; the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico; Bishop Rafael Moreno Rivas 

  • Luis Daniel Roman-Hernandez: Serving in the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico; the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico; Bishop Rafael Moreno Rivas 

  • Kyeong-Ah Woo: World Council of Church, Commission on World Mission and Evangelism, Geneva, Switzerland; Northern Illinois Annual Conference; Bishop Sally Dyck 

  • Maria de Lourdes Ramirez Meneses; Serving in the national office of the Southeastern Annual Conference Methodist Church of Mexico, Evangelical ; commissioning TBA 

  • Satomi McCurley: Asia Rural Institute, Japan; Asia Rural Institute, Japan; Florida Annual Conference; commissioned by Bishop Ken Carter 

  • Sonia Noemí Vargas-Maldonado: Serving in the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico; the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico; Bishop Rafael Moreno Riva 

  • Racial/Ethnic Plans (assigned in United States) 

  • Lilia M. Ramirez-Jimenez: National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministries, Global Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia; Middle Tennessee Preabytery of PCUSA; to be commissioned at the Tennessee Annual Conference; Bishop William T. McAlilly 

  • Keihwan Kevin Ryo: Korean Ministry Plan, Los Angeles (California-Pacific Annual Conference); Dakotas Annual Conference; Bishop Bruce R. Ough 

  • *Ivy Couch is the Missionary Service program area liaison.