|2010 NFAAUM CONVOCATION
"ONE: STEP FORWARD"
The National Federation of Asian American United Methodists (NFAAUM) met
in convocation from July 29-31, 2010 in San Jose, California, its first national
gathering in 11 years. The event was opened by a performance of San Jose
Taiko, a world renowned drum group. Over 200 representatives from the 10
sub-ethnic groups of the Federation: Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Formosan,
Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, South Asian, and Vietnamese, gathered at
Wesley United Methodist Church for the three day event. There were times for
worship, celebration, study, networking, and visioning. NFAAUM is a recognized
racial ethnic caucus in The United Methodist Church.
Several bishops, representing the Council of Bishops and Connectional Table,
as well as staff of general boards and agencies also attended. Retired Bishop
Elias Galvan brought a solidarity message from MARCHA, the Hispanic caucus.
The General Board of Global Ministries, General Board of Church and Society,
and the General Commission on Religion and Race provided financial support
to enable so many to participate in the event.
As a highlight of the event, the Asian American bishops each delivered an
update on the denomination and their frank assessment of the Asian American
ministries in relation to the rest of the church.
Chicago Area's Bishop HeeSoo Jung reported the continuing loss of confidence
in the primary church structures and their leaders. He added that after a
lifetime commitment to the church, the people would not attend anymore,
saying, "What's the point? What happens in those places is just disconnected
from the realities of what people experience in their everyday lives." Bishop
Jung noted that the general church had been looking into the matter with action
plans such as the Ministry Study, the Rethink Church movement, and the
Global Nature of UM study. The Call to Action Steering Committee study, an
audit of the denomination authorized by the General Conference, is also
underway. "We are in this place of confusion where our maps no longer serve
our needs not because of unsolvable world changes, but that God of creation
is calling us forth to imagine new things", Bishop Jung said. "We need to
cultivate an environment of trust and expectation among people. As Asians, we
need to be connected with other ethnic groups across the church. We need to
attend to the whole UMC system, to join the vital movement of Christian witness
to the world. We need to create new moments of dreaming about being God's
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