Sep 23, 2022 | By John W. Coleman

View photo albums:
Installation of The Rev. Jenny Freymoyer, West District Superintendent
Installation of The Rev. Hun Ju Lee, North District Superintendent

Invoking God’s call to courageous, visionary leadership, the Eastern PA Conference celebrated the installation of two new district superintendents on Sunday, Sept. 18, in two places—outdoor and indoor sanctuaries—just 74 miles apart.

The West District welcomed the Rev. Jennifer Freymoyer as its superintendent while worshiping in a verdant field near the lake at Gretna Glen Camp and Retreat Center in Lebanon. Fittingly, they sang the popular hymn, “Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore” in English and Spanish. Afterward, attendees enjoyed a sunny afternoon picnic, as some engaged in hiking, games, boating and other recreation.  

“We took Church outside the building, into the camp’s outdoor chapel for this service,” said Freymoyer. “I think as the church moves forward we need to find creative ways of being church in new settings outside of our buildings on Sunday mornings.”

The North District welcomed the Rev. Hun Ju Lee as superintendent that evening in the more formal but friendly indoor worship venue of Wesley UMC in Bethlehem, following a fellowship reception.

Bishop John Schol charged Freymoyer and Lee—both of whom began their service on his cabinet months ago—with the traditional superintendent’s call to “guard the faith, seek the unity and exercise the discipline of the Church, and supervise and support the Church’s life, work, and mission.”

Similarly, both districts also charged their new superintendents to proclaim God’s Word and affirm the vows of baptism, to help the church stay in communion with Christ, and to serve, shepherd and strengthen members’ connections as United Methodists.

Photo by the Rev. Blaine R. Wegner.

Program participants presented the two superintendents with symbols of their calling: a Bible; a pitcher of water; the Communion bread and cup; the UM Hymnal, Book of Worship and Book of Discipline; a towel and basin; a clergy stole; and a globe depicting the world.

Gatherings represent districts’ unity, diversity

The two gatherings and worship programs represented the diversity of cultures, languages, generations, ideologies and other characteristics across both districts. “We are all coming from varied places, varied understandings, very traditions, varied experiences, varied ethnicities,” said Bishop Schol in his greeting, after North District attendees sang “We Are All One in Mission.” “But we are all one in Christ, thanks be to God.”

The opening hymn, “God of Grace and God of Glory,” spoke to the superintendents’ own faithful reliance on God when leading the church in times of great challenge. “Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,” repeated the refrain, “for the living of these days.”

In the West Freymoyer preached about the wisdom and courage that Jesus Christ inspired in his disciples and still inspires in believers today. When Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid. From now on, you will be fishing for people,” Simon Peter and others left their boats at the shore and decided to follow Jesus.

Freymoyer, a wife and mother of three, became a United Methodist and a youth minister in her twenties, while attending Hopewell UMC in Downingtown. She was drawn by the UMC’s liberating message of free will and grace.

Jenny Freymoyer and family. Photo by the Rev. Blaine R. Wegner.

When she later said “Yes” to God’s call to seminary, like many, she had “no intention of being a pastor.” But after attending Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, she transferred to EPA, became a Licensed Local Pastor, then an elder, and served Epworth UMC in Bethlehem, Salem UMC in Shoemakersville and part-time as the North District Assisting Elder.

‘Don’t be afraid’… ‘God will make it happen’

Freymoyer spoke of fears and challenges she has faced as a young clergywoman. But recalling the words “Don’t be afraid” that appear in many scriptures, she pointed out that when associated with God’s call, those are words of both comfort and challenge, a reassurance of God’s presence, but also a challenge to bravely face the tasks at hand.

In his message, “God will make it happen,” Lee recalled humble heroes from biblical and contemporary times—from Abraham and Noah to Mother Teresa—who answered God’s call, embraced God’s vision and believed in God’s promises, trusting in what they could not see.

Citing Hebrews 11:1-12, he urged members to not “limit the possibilities of what God can do with us in the future. If you let God give you a dream for your life, God will also bring it to pass.” However, he cautioned listeners to not “hold God hostage to their own ideas, their own plans” and expect God to bless them and “make things work for us.” We must “surrender our plans and discover what God’s plan is for us.”

Lee, a husband and father of two, has led five UM churches: Olivet in Coatesville, Landenberg, Chatham in West Grove, Eddystone and First Korean UMC of Philadelphia in Prospectville. Previously, he directed youth ministries at Korean UMC in Bethlehem and was a youth pastor at several New Jersey churches. With four theological degrees, including a doctorate, he also taught school and directed Christian education in his native South Korea.

“God is bringing to fruition God’s promise for our church,” said Lee. “We are a part of something much bigger than ourselves, and if we will open ourselves to it, we will see God do remarkable things.

“Do you know what God’s promise is to you?” he asked before showing an inspirational video. “Then I challenge you to put shoes on your faith and start walking.”

View photo albums:
Installation of The Rev. Jenny Freymoyer, West District Superintendent
Installation of The Rev. Hun Ju Lee, North District Superintendent