Dear friends and partners in ministry,
Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and greetings from New York City!
Last week, I said good-bye to the members of the United Methodist Church in Kyiv. It was, understandably, a bittersweet occasion. It was hard to bid farewell to friends and ministry partners who had so warmly received me; for four years, we worked side by side in times both joyful and sad, and I learned many valuable lessons from these faithful disciples. It was also painful to leave a community that I grew to love, and yet remains engulfed in the turmoil of war, political instability, and economic chaos.
And yet, after having served abroad as a GBGM missionary for the past fourteen years, it is a joy to return home to the United States, and to be able to continue in mission service on behalf of the United Methodist Church. In March, I will begin a new assignment as Mission Advocate for the Northeastern Jurisdiction, based in New York City. In this role, I will help local UMC congregations and annual conferences in the U.S. Northeast develop partnerships and relationships with our UMC missionaries and the ministries they serve worldwide.
I am very excited to take up this new position, and to have the opportunity to share the incredible work being done by missionaries and the communities they serve around the world. For those of you are located in the Northeastern Jurisdiction, I look forward to continuing in relationship with you, and helping you and your congregation deepen your commitment to missions.
Although I am leaving Ukraine, the ministry of United Methodist Church of Ukraine shall continue. Please maintain your partnership with the church through your prayerful support. My colleague Nazar Yatsyshyn, a GBGM Mission Fellow and co-worker with the UMC of Ukraine, will be writing occasional emails to keep you and other partners informed of the ministry. If you have any questions about the ministry in Ukraine, or wish to share words of support or encouragement, you are welcome to write to Nazar at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, please let me again thank each of you for your support of my mission service, which now continues in New York as Mission Advocate for the Northeastern Jurisdiction. On behalf of the entire GBGM community, we value the contributions you make towards mission support via the GBGM Advance program. For those of you with whom I am in Covenant Relationship, please know that our Covenant Relationship will continue. I will remain in contact with you, sharing news about my mission service and informing you of how you might participate in my ministry of advocacy on behalf of our missionaries around the world. And I hope to soon be able to visit you in person, to thank you for your partnership through the Covenant Relationship program.
Again, I give you thanks for your prayers and support for missions worldwide. May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!
Yours in Christ,
Rev. John Calhoun, GBGM Mission Advocate for the Northeastern Jurisdiction