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The Office of the General Assembly has hired a new manager for Korean-speaking Councils Support within Mid Council Ministries. The Rev. Joshua Park, English Ministry lead pastor at Bethany Presbyterian Church in Marietta, Georgia, has accepted the call.
Park’s new responsibilities include supporting and nurturing PC(USA) councils that are Korean-speaking or of Korean heritage. This includes helping the councils continue to grow within the denomination.
The son of a Presbyterian minister and missionary, Park was born in South Korea and spent part of his childhood in Honduras, where he learned both Spanish and English. After graduating from Texas A&M University with a degree in political science and Spanish, he worked fulltime as audio director for a few churches before receiving the call to Bethany.
“With my trilingual and tri-cultural background, I began to see the needs of various aspects of ministry,” said Park. “God gave me a desire to help people understand and better communicate with each other.”
That skill was among the factors that helped the five-member interview team in making its final recommendation to the Stated Clerk, after a process that included Zoom interviews as well as written responses to questions from the final candidates.
“Joshua brings a skill that is rare in that he is fluent in three languages. This is a gift to the whole ministry,” said the Rev. Tricia Dykers Koenig, associate director for Mid Council Relations in OGA, who led the full search process. “He is very personable, and we felt he would be a great fit with other colleagues within Mid Council Ministries.”
The interview team was comprised of Dykers-Koenig, two staff peers from Mid Council Ministries, Human Resources staff and the Rev. Young Ghil Lee, who is pastor of the Korean Church of Boston (PC[USA]).
“What I heard from folks on the interview team is that there is hope Joshua can bring some cultural bridging skills and collaboration strengths to this position because of his experience,” said the Rev. Jihyun Oh, director of Mid Council Ministries. “It takes skill to navigate and work to address both unity and diversity in a constituency group that is discerning the shape of mission and ministry in its next chapter. We also really want to support all of our mid councils as they continue building cultural proficiency in working with different language and/or cultural communities within their bounds, so this is an important move.”
Park’s arrival comes as the National Caucus of Korean Presbyterian Churches (NCKPC) prepares to celebrate its 50th Jubilee celebration and looks toward the next 50 years. The celebration was delayed a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NCKPC is the primary organization in the PC(USA) with contact and knowledge of all Korean American congregations and works to promote their causes. It began as a fellowship association in 1972.
“I believe it is our jobs as good stewards to use our talents for God. Not only do I think it’s a privilege to help build those bridges, but I also believe God’s calling is a sense of duty,” said Park. “I hope to use God’s gifts to help us all to grow and learn together.”
Park will serve in a term position and will use part of that time to assist Mid Council Ministries in evaluating the role’s effectiveness, as mandated in the 2016 General Assembly action that created the position, and in working with PMA colleagues to study the landscape of the Korean American constituency within the PC(USA).
“It’s critically important that we listen a lot and collaborate with various groups and not leave out the marginalized. We need to make sure we include and reach out to everyone,” he said. “We also need to move forward with grace so that the PC(USA) can continue to bring glory to God.”
Park begins his new role on Feb. 28.