New Church Life NCL May/June 2018 - Page 46

n e w c h u r c h l i f e : m ay / j u n e 2 0 1 8 in Brazil, in some cases part of the practical education may consist of students serving a congregation as the leader until they are ordained. This provides valuable experience. The New Church in South Korea A similar situation exists in South Korea. There has been New Church activity in South Korea since the beginning of the 20 th century when a Japanese Convention minister began preaching there. The first General Church minister was the Rev. Dzin Kwak, who graduated from the Theological School in 1988 and took up residence in Seoul. In the next few years, several Koreans attended the Theological School in Bryn Athyn and were ordained: Yong (John) J. Jin 1994, Jong-Ui Lee 1998, and Sung-Won Paek in 2001. There were, however, more potential students in Korea whose English abilities prevented them from attending the Theological School in Bryn Athyn. To remedy this, the Asia Region Theological School came into being, under the overall supervision of the Rev. Yong Jin. In 2008 the Rev. Dzin Kwak retired from the pastorate, and his place was taken by the Rev. Kyu Yang, who was added to the teaching staff. The Korean program is divided into two streams: those who are training for the ordained ministry, and a second consisting of those who are preparing to be missionaries and who will not be ordained. From the outset it was noted that none of these students, whether ordained or not, could expect employment as ministers, as the only pastoral posts in Korea were already filled. Instead they were encouraged to start their own church congregations. There have been three graduating classes since the school’s inception in 2004: the first class of five ministers and one missionary graduated in 2010. Of the five ministers, one left the Church, one is serving the Seoul society (Mr. Yang retired in 2016). The other three ministers have either started or are starting new congregations in South Korea. A second class graduated in 2014. One of the students in this class serves in Japan, another is a translator, and the third began a congregation in 2014. This second class also educated two missionaries, both of whom are serving the Korean Congregation in Orange County, California. A third class is in process with two students, one of whom will serve in Japan. At the time of writing this article, a fourth class is preparing to get underway, with four students expected to join. In 2017 the Rev. Yong Jin began exploring ways to extend operations of the Asia Region Theological School into China. Aware that there are severe restrictions on this kind of activity, it is not quite clear what form this will take, 222