Preparing the Way:
CTS’ Korean American Program Gets Underway
Korean Church Pastors in Atlanta area (front row, from left to right)
Sam Young Kim, Bong Jang, Byung Ho Choi, and Soon Hong Kang
Korean-American Ministries (Paul J. Huh, Director) with Lifelong Learning at Columbia Theological Seminary offers a lay leadership program for training newly elected candidates of elders and deacons for their ordination requirement. As the Korean speaking churches in the Greater Atlanta area have struggled with providing quality education and training programs for nurturing ordained lay leaders, this certification program seeks to equip and prepare the ordination for officers in Korean-American Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
For 10 weeks on Mondays from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., the class meets at Bethany Presbyterian Church (Marietta, GA) & Columbia Theological Seminary campus. First class began on September 22 and the last class ends on December 1 with a graduation ceremony on Saturday, December 6 on Columbia campus. In addition to 20 hours in class time, 10 hours of off-class project with a report is due on exam day, which is required for a passing grade.
Preparing the way for the immigrant church education happens very late at night after people return from their work late in the evening. At 8 PM, most of the participants have not had a chance to go home from work that Bethany church prepares each week a light sandwich dinner for the hard working students. Currently there are 43 registered laypeople from 3 different congregations in greater Atlanta area. The program plans to repeat the course next Spring for new students from different congregations and offer a different curriculum for those who may want to continue.
The lectures focus on understanding the core value of local church for which all the candidates are called. And it helps to consolidate their identity and goal of the local church which the candidates are represented. This particular emphasis is instructed by the Rev. Byeongho Choi, pastor of Bethany Presbyterian Church in Marietta. The church administration lecture explores how to moderate meetings with better understanding of bi-laws and church organizations including the role of session and presbytery. The instructor is the Rev. Young Kap Kweon, pastor of Good News Garden Presbyterian Church in Norcross.
The pastoral leadership session studies the uniqueness of pastoral leadership from general principles of leadership so that all the candidates can have an awareness of the critical virtue of pastoral leadership in the local churches. The session is led by the Rev. In Soo Jung, pastor of Korean Community Presbyterian Church in Duluth and a long standing board member of CTS. On stewardship for elders and deacons, the session addresses the dimension of spirituality of church leaders in their leadership and deal with how to improve the stewardship. Instructor for the session is the Rev. David Hoonjin Chai, Asian Leadership Associate from General Assembly in Louisville, KY.
Worship course leads the students to have a deeper theological understanding of the worship service and the meaning of Sacraments for the local churches on the Lord’s Day. Instructor is Dr. Paul J. Huh, Worship Professor at C.T.S. and director of Korean American Ministries. The class on history of Presbyterian Church offers a glimpse of how Presbyterianism has evolved since 17th century until now. The instructor is Dr. Dent Davis, Dean & the Vice President of Lifelong Learning Center.
A Session on confessions of Presbyterian heritage introduced historical evolution of theological confessional perspectives which have developed in Reformed tradition. The instructor is Rev. Dr. Kimberly Clayton, Director of Lifelong Learning Events. The essence and mission of Korean-American Church lecture explores the theological essence of the church in Korean-American context so that the prospective elders and deacons may have a broad and historical perspective on the mission of the church.
Instructor is the
Rev. Sam Young Kim, the pastor of the Korean Presbyterian Church of Georgia in Jonesboro.
Polity course will cover the essential parts of polity described in the Book of Order with its instructor, the Rev. Bong Jang, pastor of Korean Central Presbyterian Church in Chamblee. The committee system of Presbyterian denomination and the characteristics of team ministry are covered by the Rev. Soon Hong Kang, a newly installed pastor at Hanbit Presbyterian Church in Duluth. The last class on sharing dreams with the participant’s church pastor based on submitted project report is instructed by the Rev. Jae Hong Kim, the coordinator of the Lay Leadership Training Program for Korean Immigrants. And Graduation and Commissioning Service is planned for Saturday, December 6, joining Portuguese and Spanish Immigrants track of the Lay Leadership program.
Korean American Ministries at Columbia stands to serve the churches of Jesus Christ in South Atlantic area advising Korean, Korean American, and Asian students in all degree programs of the seminary, providing Lifelong Learning Programs for Korean American, Korean and other Asian American churches, and raising Korean American and Asian theological voices in U.S. and global context.
Being an immigrant child and raised in U.S. from 8th grade in middle school, I was brought up in both worlds of Korea and America. These two cultures often pull me apart in different directions, and at the same time they provide a creative tension in developing a new identity. We live in two worlds at once, the one always informing the other. The followers of Jesus Christ are to be truly in the world and at the same time live in the world of the Bible preparing the ways for others to follow.
The Lifelong Learning Center and Korean American Ministries will prepare the way of Jesus Christ’s coming in providing conferences for the Korean Pastors on March 2-5, 2009 and the Calvin Institute of Worship granted event of “Korean Conference on Worship & Music,” August 3-6, 2009. A number of other ministry resources including quarterly academic journal of Korean American Ministries is also preparing the way for its very first printed issue. It is an exciting time to be at Columbia! (Paul Junggap Huh)