After the reign of the Khmer Rouge (1975-1979), the United Methodist Church through UMCOR became involved in the work of the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Cambodia.
|1998 ~ 2017|
The United Methodist Church has cooperated with other Methodist mission agencies (MMS, KMC, WFCMC, CONNEXIO) in bringing about an autonomous Methodist denomination called the “Methodist Church in Cambodia” (MCC).
|2018 ~ Present|
The United Methodist Church continues to walk the faith journey with MCC (the Methodist Church in Cambodia) as it moves forward from a Mission Conference to Provisional Annual Conference and to Annual Conference.
Methodist Churches Working Together in Cambodia
* UMC – The United Methodist Church
* MMS – The Methodist Church in Singapore
* KMC – The Korean Methodist Church
* WFCMC – The World Federation of Chinese Methodist Churches
* CONNEXIO – The United Methodist Church in Switzerland and France
* MCC – The Methodist Church in Cambodia
In the 1980s the World Division and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) of the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) of the United Methodist Church became involved in the work of Cambodian refugee assistance, rehabilitation, and the reconstruction of Cambodia. In 1983, the United Methodist Church Indochina Caucus was established by GBGM to provide fellowship and nurture for expatriate Christian faith communities in the USA from Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. In 1989, the first ordained United Methodist pastor, Pa Nous Pan, returned to his native Cambodia.
Two Methodist congregations were opened in the Kampong Thom area through the Cambodian United Methodist Church of Paris, France. Rev. Kean Ung, a United Methodist Cambodian pastor living in Switzerland, returned to Cambodia and organized a Methodist congregation in Phnom Penh. The Mission Board of the United Methodist Church in Switzerland and France (Connexio) voted to make Cambodia a mission partner country.
Representatives of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church (Rev. Kean Ung and Rev. Joseph Chan), Connexio (Rev. Peter Siegfried), the Methodist Church of Singapore and the Korean Methodist Church began to discuss about joint mission efforts in Cambodia.
The first United Methodist missionaries were commissioned and sent to Cambodia: Joseph and Marilyn Chan, Pitou and Sally Lao. Land and a building were purchased in Phnom Penh and a United Methodist Mission Center was established. Rev. Warren Harbert (1998-1999) worked with other Methodist agencies to support the establishment of the Cambodia Methodist Bible School (CMBS) as the approved educational institution and theological training leading toward ordination.
The Rev. Denver Stone (1999-2000), a retired United Methodist missionary, consented to go to Cambodia as an interim country-wide director of mission.
The Rev. Michael Collins (2000-2003) served a three-year term as a director of United Methodist mission in Cambodia, and his wife, Ariel Collins, served as a missionary in the field of Christian education.
Working together with the five participating agencies in Cambodia (KMC, MMS, WFCMC, CONNEXIO, and UMC), “Christian Hymn and Worship Book” was published for Cambodian Methodist churches. This is the first hymn and worship book in the history of Methodism which includes more indigenous hymns and songs than translated foreign songs. Clara Biswas, a Global Missionary, was commissioned to Cambodian mission as a street children ministry coordinator and Esther Gitobu as a volunteer in mission (VIM) coordinator.
In January 2003, the Methodist Mission in Cambodia was officially constituted by the five participating agencies (KMC, MMS, WFCMC, CONNEXIO, and UMC) at the 1st Annual Meeting of the Mission. The declaration, “The Methodist Mission of the People Called Methodists in Cambodia,” was signed by the bishops of the participating agencies.
The Rev. William Warnock (2005-2007) who was followed by the Rev. Jeffrey Frese (interim director), was commissioned as a country director of Methodist mission and also served MCC as one of the missionary superintendents. Through collaborative work, Cambodian pastors who were once separated by relationships with their sponsoring agencies began to work together as one body of the Methodist Church in Cambodia (MCC).
As an interim country director, the Rev. William Simpson (2007) served half a year in Cambodia. By the help of the church he belonged to in N.Carolina, Phum Srei Methodist Church in Kampong Thom was established. Kennedy Cruz, a Global Missionary, started serving the Community Health and Agriculture Development (CHAD) as a community development specialist.
Since 2008, the Rev. Romeo Rosario (2008-2017) had served Methodist mission in Cambodia as a country director and celebrated his retirement in June 2017. During his 9 year term, the Methodist Church in Cambodia (MCC) took a leap toward becoming autonomous and Mondulkiri project (church, school, and retreat center in Mondulkiri province) got started. Two global missionaries had been appointed during his time in office: Helen Camarce as a treasurer of Cambodia mission in 2011 and the Rev. Samuel Om as a director of educational resource development in 2015.
As of July 1, 2017, upon the retirement of Rev. Romeo Rosario, the Rev. Andrew Lee was sent to Cambodia as a country coordinator to continue the good works that God has started in Cambodia.