New Methodist Church launched in Cambodia

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Fellow Methodist clergy pray over the newly elected President of the Methodist Church in Cambodia, Rev. Lun Sophy. PHOTO: Myungim Kim

By Elliott Wright*

The Methodist Church of Cambodia officially came into being in early September at a conference in Phnom Penh. It has 140 congregations, 11 districts, 132 clergypersons, 3,171 full members and average Sunday worship attendance of 6,828. 

“This new church is the culmination of many years of collaborative work among five mission agencies, their missionaries and the work of indigenous leaders,” said Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster (retired), the United Methodist bishop assigned to the Cambodia Mission. He represented the denomination at the September 4-7 conference.

The Rev. Lun Sophy, a pastor of two churches at Siem Reap, a city near the ancient temples at Angkor Wat, was elected president of the new church, officially and originally in Methodist parlance called a “provisional annual conference,” but expected to be autonomous or self-governing. 

“We celebrate the movement of God’s spirit in Cambodia,” Goodpaster said in an interview after his return from Southeast Asia. “We also celebrate mission partnership. Collaboration is the way to do mission in the 21st century.”

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