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Korean-American United Methodists have gifts to give, bishop says

 


Korean-American United Methodists have gifts to give, bishop says

March 17, 2005      

By Linda Bloom*

NEW YORK (UMNS)—Bishop Jeremiah Park believes that Korean-American United Methodists have gifts and resources that can strengthen the entire denomination.

Park, who oversees the denomination’s New York Area, is the new president of the United Methodist Council on Korean American Ministries.

The council supports the denomination’s Korean-American National Plan, a program of General Conference, the church’s top legislative body. The 2004 General Conference approved a budget of $3.2 million for the plan.

Since its beginning in 1903, the Korean-American United Methodist community has grown to more than 420 congregations with 100,000 members, along with more than 540 Korean-American clergy members.

“We will continue to serve the church by fulfilling the mandate that we have from General Conference relating to the national plan,” Park told United Methodist News Service. “But we really would like to present ourselves as a council, that we are not just a funding body.”

One function of the council, he added, would be “serving as a think tank for the community and the church.”

Council members believe the Korean-American United Methodist community has matured and is ready to share its gifts with the rest of the denomination, according to the bishop. Those gifts, he said, include a “spirituality forged in prayer life,” expertise at evangelism and stewardship, and “a wonderful culture of hospitality and respect.”

“The council wants to be a catalyst for sharing these gifts and its resources with the church,” Park explained.

At its organizing meeting in late January, the council set six goals that incorporate the national plan’s “vision areas” of servant leadership formation, next-generation ministries, and congregational development and redevelopment of existing ministries.

A strategy for servant leadership formation will focus on clergy, professional staff and lay leaders for “first and next-generation” Korean Americans. That strategy will include emphasis on the church’s connectional system, community outreach and justice ministry, intergenerational partnership, mission interpretation and cross-cultural communications.

The council hopes to help the Korean-American community see “new possibilities” for work as partners in mission, Park said.

Other goals include leadership formation and integration for Korean-American clergywomen; the establishment of 15 new next-generation congregations and campus ministries; recruitment of next-generation men and women for training and ordination through United Methodist-related seminaries; the establishment of 15 new Korean congregations and strengthening of existing congregations; and the expansion of resource materials and national data on Korean-American churches and mission.

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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