Theme, guest leaders set for 2015 Annual Conference

AC2015_Final_ThemeTwo nationally known United Methodist pastors and the bishop of the Virginia Area will serve as featured teachers and preachers at the 2015 Arkansas Annual Conference, set for June 14-17 at Bank of the Ozarks Arena (formerly Summit Arena) in Hot Springs, Ark.

“A Call to Spiritual Revival” is the event’s theme, echoing the first point of the Mission Plan launched by Bishop Gary E. Mueller in 2013.

In keeping with that theme, Bishop Young Jin Cho will lead a special Monday morning call to prayer, before the first business session of the Annual Conference.

Cho was elected to the episcopacy in 2012, and is the first Korean-American elected as a bishop in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. Born in Onyang, South Korea, he graduated from Methodist Theological Seminary in Seoul. He came to the United States in 1979 and earned Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. He was ordained in the East Annual Conference of the Korean Methodist Church in 1977 and transferred to the Virginia Conference in 1983.

Bishop Young Jin Cho

Bishop Young Jin Cho

He spent 22 years as senior pastor of Korean United Methodist Church of Greater Washington in McLean, Va. His tenure there saw the church’s worship attendance grow from about 100 to more than 1,000; baptisms of 276 adults and youths; and completion of three building projects. The church has the largest worship attendance in the Virginia Conference and is one of its most vital congregations.

In 2005 he became a district superintendent and focused his ministry in three areas: developing new faith communities, revitalizing existing churches by transforming clergy leadership and strengthening connectionalism. Under his leadership, the Arlington District started more than 10 new faith communities and introduced many training events for clergy and laity to strengthen spiritual foundations of ministry. He emphasizes that Christ should be the Lord in our mission and ministries, and prayer should go first.

The Rev. Paul Rasmussen, senior minister at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas, will preach at Sunday evening opening worship, and again for Monday evening worship.

Rev. Paul Rasmussen

Rev. Paul Rasmussen

Before entering seminary, Rasmussen served five years as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Centenary College of Louisiana. During his tenure, Centenary was one of seven NCAA schools to graduate 100 percent of its players.

Rasmussen left coaching in 1997 for a career in sports marketing, then left the corporate world in 2000 to pursue his call to ministry. He began an internship at Highland Park UMC while attending SMU’s Perkins School of Theology. In 2001, he began preaching at Cornerstone, Highland Park’s contemporary worship service. Under his leadership, Cornerstone has expanded to include three services each weekend, with a combined weekly attendance of 2,000. He also led the project to renovate and restore the Munger Place Church satellite campus in East Dallas.

A native of Shreveport, La., Rasmussen is a fourth-generation United Methodist minister. He holds an undergraduate degree from Centenary College, a Master of Arts from the University of Richmond, and a Master of Divinity from SMU’s Perkins School of Theology.

Rev. Lisa Yebuah

Rev. Lisa Yebuah

The Rev. Lisa Yebuah will preach the closing worship service. A native of Nashville, Tenn., Yebuah claims Summerville, S.C., as her hometown. She is a 1999 graduate of Wofford College and a 2004 graduate of Duke University Divinity School.

Yebuah’s travels to Haiti and South Africa during her seminary career fueled her desire to make the Wesleyan understanding of “love of God and love of neighbor” tangible to United Methodists in the local church. She has served as the pastor of inviting ministries at Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh, N.C., since 2009.