By Elliott Wright
April 30, 2020 | ATLANTA
A global virtual congregation welcomed 21 new United Methodist missionaries in a Service of Blessing livestreamed at noon (EDT) on April 29 on multiple platforms.
The new personnel of the General Board of Global Ministries come from eight countries and will serve projective placements in 15 countries. They introduced themselves from where they were sheltering during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Rev. Dr. Judy Chung, executive director of Global Ministries’ Missionary Services unit, led the Service of Blessing, consisting of prayer and Scripture from her home in the Atlanta area. She read the dramatic passage from the Gospel of John (chapter 13) in which Jesus washes his disciples’ feet in preparation for the work ahead of them. “We are symbolically washing your feet today,” Chung said to the new missionaries, explaining that actual foot-washing usually takes place in welcoming new missionaries.
The worldwide spread of the novel coronavirus represents a significant but not insurmountable challenge to the preparation and placement of missionaries.
“The 21 new missionaries have completed six days of virtual orientation plus some additional sessions,” Chung said in an email interview. “There will be additional in-person training, and each missionary will be formally commissioned (“sent”) at later times. Four are already working in their placements, either remotely or in limited physical engagement due to local restrictions. Six will be officially starting their mission service in July. The rest are preparing for their mission service by working remotely, working on obtaining visas, or in other ways staying engaged.
“Of course, some of this may still need to be adjusted on a case-by-case basis, but our hope is that these new missionaries will arrive at their placements by the end of this year.”
Those welcomed and blessed on April 29 included (name, home conference or church, and presumptive placement and country):
From the United States:
- Patrick Booth, North Texas, Methodist Mission in Cambodia
- Ann Margaret Hidalgo, United Church of Christ, Latin American Biblical University, Costa Rica
- Rev. Sung ll Lee, Greater New Jersey, Methodist Training Center, Fiji
- Leah Magruder, North Texas, Seth Mokitimi Seminary, South Africa
- Trisha Renae Manns, North Georgia, Global Ministries Young Adult Mission Service, U.S.
- Colleen Miller-Donor, Western Pennsylvania, All God’s Children Ministries, U.S.
- Terah Park, California-Pacific, United Methodist Mission in Southeast Asia
- Rev. Jonathan Park, California-Pacific, United Methodist Mission in Southeast Asia
- Joy Nicole Prim, California-Pacific, Mission for Migrant Workers, Hong Kong
- Rev. Courtney Randall, New England, Methodist Liaison Office, Middle East region
- Rev. Daniel Randall, New England, Methodist Liaison Office, Middle East region
- Hannah Reasoner, New York, Center for Popular Communications, Colombia
- Rev. Dr. Carolyn Schneider, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Union Theological Seminary, Philippines
- Rev. Julie Wilson, Baltimore Washington, Open Arms Community Center, U.S.
- Edwin Campomanes Ramirez, Calvary La Esperanza (Calvary of Hope) in Mexico, National Evangelical Primitive Methodist Church of Guatemala
- Bruna Farat da Silva Mahamane Kakale, Methodist Church of Brazil, French Guiana Methodist Partnership
- Yorleni Rebeca Jimenez Rojas, Comunidad PAS in Costa Rica, United Methodist Mission in Honduras
- Blair Moses Kamanga, Assemblies of God in Malawi, Mozambique United Methodist Conference Agriculture Ministry
- Rev. Min Kyu Lee, Northwest Philippines Conference (originally from South Korea), Wesley Divinity School, Philippines
- Rev. Natallia Manyeza, Zimbabwe East, United Methodist University in Sierra Leone
- Patrick Nawej Mwinkeu, United Methodist Church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa Conference Agriculture Ministry
Elliott Wright in an information consultant with Global Ministries.