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Two Korean, U.S. conferences pledge to work together

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS Web-only photo courtesy of World Methodist Conference

Bishop Sung Young Kwak (left) and Bishop John R. Schol present the covenant of cooperation.
July 24, 2006

By Joan G. LaBarr*

SEOUL, South Korea (UMNS) — Methodists in two regions half a world apart — one in the United States, one in South Korea — have signed a covenant to work together on making disciples.

The Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church and the Nambu Conference of the Korean Methodist Church entered into the covenant July 22 at the World Methodist Conference meeting at the Kum Nan Church in Seoul.

Bishop Sung Young Kwak of the Nambu Conference and Bishop John R. Schol of the Baltimore-Washington Conference signed the document, which reaches across denominations, continents, languages and cultures.

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo courtesy of World Methodist Conference

The covenant reaches across denominations, continents, languages, and cultures.
The signing was witnessed by Bishop Sunday Mbang, council chairperson and prelate of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, and Bishop Ann B. Sherer, president of the United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns and leader of her denomination’s Nebraska Area.

The seeds of the new relationship were planted with exchanges between the two conferences, primarily involving youth. Kwak invited Schol to visit his conference and a number of congregations. In the month leading up to the World Methodist Conference, there were discussions and movement toward entering into covenant.

The covenant acknowledges that the two conferences have unique histories and a common calling to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

Under terms of the covenant, the two conferences commit to:

  • Grow in understanding and appreciation for one another’s uniqueness ? culture, history, spirituality and strategies for making disciples.
  • Build on their common Wesleyan tradition to spread scriptural holiness (personal and social holiness) through evangelism and ministries of justice and mercy.
  • Strengthen their ability to make and grow disciples of Jesus Christ around the world by learning from one another and developing common discipleship and mission strategies within their own conferences and around the world.

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS Web-only photo courtesy of World Methodist Conference

Bishop Sung Young Kwak (left) and Bishop John R. Schol shake hands on the covenant.
A joint task force of representatives from both conferences will be formed to develop strategies in key areas of ministry, including:

  • Fostering youth, young adult, clergy, lay leadership and music exchanges to develop deeper understanding of and appreciation for one another’s culture, evangelism strategies, and justice and mercy ministries.
  • Identifying and planting new congregations in our own conferences and mutually support the planting of new congregations around the world.
  • Identifying, creating and mobilizing resources to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
  • Identifying and jointly addressing justice and mercy mission needs in a region of the world outside their conferences.

The covenant concludes with the commitment, “We affirm that we are stronger than each of our conferences are separately, and (we) will serve together to bring glory and honor to God.”

*LaBarr is director of communications for the United Methodist Church’s North Texas Annual Conference. She managed the World Methodist Conference newsroom in Seoul, South Korea.

News media contacts: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470; Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759; or

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