Pastor’s Corner – August 27, 2023

It seems like yesterday when I was in Seoul for my dad’s memorial service. It’s been a year and his church had a special service to remember and celebrate his life. It was a blessing and an honor to return and attend the annual memorial. This is not widely practiced in the US, but in Korea it’s been reserved to honor ministers in the church who made a difference in the life of the church. It was well attended, though it was a holiday weekend (Korean Independence Day). I was pleased to see those who worked closely with dad over the years, and family members who were dear to him. 

This coming Sunday Paul’s letter to the church in Rome reminds us that each member plays an important role or function in the body of Christ, in equal measure with different gifts. My dad was a teaching elder in the Presbyterian church and played a role in building his faith community with his leadership; but without the people who served with him, the church would not be where it is today. During the reception in the fellowship hall on the eighth floor, the top floor of the building with a 360-degree view of the city, I recalled his retirement party. The church building was newly constructed in the past two years. It was not an easy journey but had the whole community involved from children to elders to imagine a space where they can worship freely and a space that’s welcoming. After years of construction to provide space for a growing congregation it was exciting to see after his retirement the church continued to thrive and grow. I met one of dad’s associate ministers, Rev Lee, who was in charge of managing the construction. He invited me to preach (his new church) during the Wednesday evening service (in the Korean church, a Wednesday evening service or midweek worship is common practice). When I walked into the building it was a smaller version of an almost exact duplicate of dad’s church! He made sure to use what he learned from church construction at his new call! It’s been fifteen years since. 

Now I may be giving you the impression that the Korean Presbyterian church is growing and new buildings are going up everywhere. The reality however is that that’s not the case. The Korean church is facing the same challenges as we are as a mainline church and they are not far behind in the cycle of stages of church growth and decline. Yet at the core of the church, mission and its identity remains the same — to proclaim the passion of Christ and the love of God in our faith practice. We are called to not conform to our world, but to be transformed by renewing our minds so that we may discern the will of God. 

I return from my trip to Korea with a renewed sense of what God is doing in different parts of the world and our common call to serve and be transformed as a church! I’m excited to see you all and I have much to share with you! Come let us worship God together!      

Pastor Dae