Virginian serves as translator at General Conference 2016

By Madeline Pillow

Virginians are serving a number of roles at General Conference from the 22 delegates to pages and translators.

The Rev. Seungsoo “R.J.” Jun, Raleigh Court UMC, Roanoke District, served as a simultaneous translator for the Korean-speaking delegates during the first week of General Conference in Portland, Ore.

Sent to Korea on an honorable appointment to The Korean Methodist Church from the Virginia Conference from 2012-2015, Jun has a strong relationship with the Korean delegates and was asked by the General Board of Global Ministries to act in this role.

Jun said he feels privileged to be acting in this role and, in his first time at General Conference, sees another aspect of the church in this capacity.

“I see the strength of The United Methodist Church of being hospitable for the minorities especially the Korean Methodist Church delegates, who are only three, and they support them and want to make sure that they are comfortably situated in this meeting through providing this translation service,” Jun said. “I am very proud that The United Methodist Church is open and hospitable to those people.”

Translators, who are positioned in booths at the front side of the General Conference plenary hall, work together as a team. Working one-hour to two-hour shifts in the booth, the Korean translators also roam around and look for opportunities to assist the Korean delegates.

“Of course we’re not required to do that, but we think that it’s also an extended hospitality for us as well. So we will be walking with them, we are also eating with them and helping them to navigate around this area,” said Jun.
Jun, aware of the tension throughout General Conference so far, was strengthened by the morning worship of May 12.

“We praised God. When we were singing and we were standing and clapping together, despite the disagreement that we have, it showed evidence that we can still be one,” Jun said.

“As I see the conference through a third-person lens trying to be as neutral as possible, in the midst of that tension,” he said, “I see unity and love.”

Simultaneous voice translation is being provided for General Conference delegates in English, French, German, KiSwahili, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Swahili.

— Madeline Pillow is editor of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate



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