United Methodist Church is Sending
Its First Missionaries to Thailand
By Elliott Wright*
STAMFORD, CT, Oct. 11, 2006--The United Methodist Church is sending its first missionaries to Thailand in South East Asia.
A clergy couple from Kentucky is carrying the United Methodist banner into a land where most of the people are Buddhist. The Rev. Michael W. Morrissey, Jr., and the Rev. Sherri Tabaka-Morrissey were commissioned on October 10 in Stamford, CT, by the General Board of Global Ministries - the international mission agency of the denomination.
The missionary couple will serve as pastors and teachers at God’s Purpose Church, a congregation in the city of Chon Buri, an hour outside of Bangkok, Thailand's capital. The independent congregation and the United Methodist mission agency have been forging ties over the past three years.
God’s Purpose Church (“Pradumri” in Thai) was started in 1999 as a house church. It became a congregation in 2002 and today has an average Sunday worship attendance of more than 100. There are only about 8,000 Christians in Thailand but Christianity is steadily growing and there are no government restrictions against churches.
“This is an exciting mission development,” the chief executive of the mission agency said of the assignment of the Morrisseys to Thailand. The Rev. R. Randy Day added that “the planning has been careful and Michael and Sherri are the right people for this venture in faith. They are committed and energetic.”
God’s Purpose Church has active Bible and fellowship groups and hopes to become the base of a network of local churches and ministries in Thailand. The Morrisseys are excited about the cross-cultural experience they will have in Thailand and about the opportunities to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to engage in justice ministries.
Michael Morrissey and Sherri Tabaka-Morrissey have both felt strong calls to mission work since they were students together at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. They attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville and during their course of study they were drawn to Wesleyan theology and joined The United Methodist Church, both eventually becoming clergy members of the Kentucky Annual Conference. They also did study at Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, KY.
The couple most recently pastored the College Heights United Methodist Church in Elizabethtown, KY.
Prior to deciding to the assignment of missionaries to Thailand, God’s Purpose Church and the mission board came to agreement around a document called “Preparing to Become United Methodist: An Exploration and Journey Together.”
The Morrisseys have two grown sons, James and Michael, and a fifteen year-old
*Elliott Wright is information officer of the General Board of Global Ministries.
Date posted: Oct 12, 2006