Korean American church leaders gather in nation’s capital

Annual meeting affirms identity, explores new challenges

June 30, 2015

Representatives at the 44th National Council of Korean Presbyterian Churches (NCKPC).

—Representatives at the 44th National Council of Korean Presbyterian Churches (NCKPC).

Washington, D.C.

More than 280 commissioners and representatives from 400 Korean American Presbyterian Churches across the country assembled together June 16–19, 2015, with guests from corresponding denominational partners in South Korea and Japan, to refocus and renew the mission of Korean American Presbyterian churches during the 44th National Council of Korean Presbyterian Churches (NCKPC) gathering.  

The theme of this year’s gathering was: “The Mission of the Diaspora: Korean American Immigrant Church Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of our Liberation.” The theme honored the anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese occupation.

Sung-Deuk Oak, associate professor of Korean Christianity at UCLA, presented a critical analysis of the Korean American churches as part of his keynote address. The presentation explored the historic linkage to Korea and shared ways in which the diaspora—Korean American immigrant churches—contributed to the long delayed reconciliation of the nation by reaffirming their identity as the Korean American Church. He also suggested roles that the diaspora could play in light of the challenging times the church is facing.

The program included six workshops and a prayer meeting at the Korean War Memorial at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and addressed some of the key issues the church is facing today, including the new understanding of marriage.

“This gathering was the first time that two representatives—the Rev. Paul Detterman of the Fellowship Community and the Rev. Brian Ellison of the Covenant Network—presented their viewpoints and opinions with the NCKPC. While not all members share the same viewpoints and opinions, this dialogue was meaningful, as members worked to understand all views and opinions brought to the table,” noted Sung-Joo Park, stated clerk of the National Council of Korean Presbyterian Churches and senior pastor at the Korean Presbyterian Church of Minn.

During the gathering, the Rev. Hyun Chan Bae of The Lord Jesus Church in Richmond, Va., was elected as the new moderator, and the Rev. Pyung Jong Shim of Lawton Korean Presbyterian Church, was elected vice moderator.