A New Beginning
Several years ago Bethel United Methodist Church merged with Grace Korean United Methodist Church to form Bethel International UMC. It was a bold and visionary decision and resulted in a congregation that is distinct, almost unique, among United Methodist churches. But now all of the pastors who led that merger have moved on: Rev. Mike Pratt retired in 2018, Rev. Miran Lee retired in June, and Rev. Ken Lee passed away in July. Their vision is now our prayerful responsibility.
Our new Korean pastor, Rev. Dr. Seeyong Lee, and his wife Byunghee, have arrived at a blessed but challenging time. Not only is the Korean congregation missing its founding pastors, but also many other long-term members happen to have moved away recently—including 18-year member, Praise Team leader and Leadership Board member, Wooyoung. In some ways, it is almost like starting a new congregation. I want you to know that Pastor Seeyong is up to the task! He has plans and ideas for reaching new Korean members. He has a vision of our church as a “home” for people from all over the world. And he is prayerful, loving and full of hope in Jesus Christ.
I want to ask you to pray deeply and especially for Pastor Seeyong and Byunghee at this time of New Beginning. They are weathering a season of tremendous change and stress. They are enduring it faithfully and joyfully, but they could use our prayers. They had to buy a house in Columbus and move across the state. One of their daughters first moved out of state and then moved back to Columbus. They lost their long-term friend and mentor, Pastor Ken. For his first month here, Pastor Seeyong had no office, because of a fire in June. And he takes over a congregation experiencing grief and anxiety about so many key members moving away.
I offer for Pastor Seeyong the words of God to Joshua in Deuteronomy 31:23: “Then the Lord commissioned Joshua son of Nun and said, ‘Be strong and bold, for you shall bring the Israelites into the land that I promised them; I will be with you.’”
Pastor Seeyong is strong and bold. Let us pray for God to uphold and keep him that way.
Yours in Christ,