“So, What’s Your Status, Pastor?

 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying, they laid their hands on them and sent them off. (Acts 13:2-3)

Last week, we had the 2021 Wisconsin Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. It was a hybrid of pre-recorded and live-webinars due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Compared to last year, it is getting closer to normal. While we only had a one-day webinar for the Conference last year, the Conference this year was held over a couple of weeks, including the pre-recorded and live webinars.  I was busy participating in both webinars as a provisional elder of the Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church. I was so pleased to be a part of it. It took such a long time for me to become a provisional elder of the United Methodist Church.

With my mother’s last wish and my response to God’s call, I studied theology for ten years since I came to the United States. There are many reasons it took me so long to be a provisional elder. One of the reasons is that I couldn’t identify my calling to God, whether teaching in a seminary or ministry in a church, going back to my home country Korea, or staying in the United States. God of patience waited for me to identify my calling and decision to minister in a church in the United States. I believe that God waits until we notice God’s calling and respond to him because God gives us freedom (free will) to accept God’s grace or not. God’s grace and love are given to everyone who accepts God. However, the final decision is our duty, and the responsibility of the decision is also our choice.

I went to Sun Prairie the day before the service and stayed in a hotel. My friend also reserved a hotel room because she was coming from Chicago. For the pre-recorded sessions, each candidate of ordination and commissioning was allowed only two guests. I invited my friend and her husband. However, on my way to Sun Prairie, I got a phone call from my friend that she couldn’t make it because her husband had a minor heart attack and went to the emergency room. I felt God wanted me to pray every moment. My friend worried about me being alone, and she couldn’t make it because she was worried about her husband. I stopped driving and pulled into the rest area off the highway and prayed for my friend and husband. As I was about to drive again toward Sun Prairie, one of my colleagues called me, wondering how I was doing and asked whom I invited. I told her the whole story about my friend whose husband had a minor heart attack. When I arrived at the hotel, I got many texts from my colleagues and friends, sending their prayers for my friend and her husband. And, I heard that her husband’s surgery went well, and he was recovering comfortably. While I went down to Sun Prairie, it took many hours, and I had many stories to think about like my life story. One of my colleagues, who called me on my way, and asked many to pray together, came to

the service to support me. She said, “I want you to know you are not alone. Remember, someone always prays for you.” I said, “Yes, I know. I never think I am alone since I believe in God.” I experienced once again that prayers have power, especially when we pray together in Jesus’ name, it’s very powerful.

After pre-recording the ordination and commissioning service, I sent my family members in Korea a short video clip, where I was receiving my commissioning. I could talk with my family members via video phone. We were happy to talk about my life journey and my mother and father. I appreciate all who supported and prayed for my long journey. Last week, our parish’s Wisconsin annual members-Barb Loomis, Sue Olson, and Karen Sciacca, gathered together in Grantsburg to participate in the Webinar of the 2021 Annual Conference. It took two days. We had such a nice time together. The last session was the service of ordination


and commissioning, which was pre-recorded in Sun Prairie. After all sessions were done, they said to me, “Congratulations, Pastor Jenny.” And Sue said, “Pastor Jenny, I have a question for you. So, what’s your status now?” I said, “Well, I’m a provisional elder.” To be an official elder of the Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church, it may take me about three more years. However, I trust that God, who lead me this far, will guide me to be there. I am growing and evolving every day. Thank you


all for your support and prayers.


Pastor Jenny Lee