The sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church here rang with the sounds of a Korean choir and Korean ministers on Tuesday (July 3) as the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK) and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) celebrated the 100th anniversary of the General Assembly of the Korean church whose seeds were planted by PC(USA) missionaries.
Linda Valentine, executive director of the General Assembly Mission Council (GAMC), drew on Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed to describe what had happened. The mustard seed planted 128 years ago by Presbyterian missionaries grew into the largest Presbyterian church in the world.
“Like the mustard seed that began as the ‘smallest of all,’ the gospel took root and flourished. From such modest beginnings, the General Assembly of Presbyterian Church of Korea was established on the first of September, 1912, under the name ‘the Chosun Presbyterian Church.’ It is this centennial that we are so pleased to celebrate with you this evening at the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).”
Valentine continued, “And from those seeds, schools, universities, seminaries, hospitals and churches have grown. We are awed and inspired by the Presbyterian Church of Korea today. You are now sending missionaries to spread the gospel and witness to the love of Christ. Today we are partners with you in ministries of education, health, peace and reconciliation.”
“We are richly blessed to be partners in ministry with you,” she said. May it continue to be so.”
The Rev. Sun Bai Kim, associate for Korean Congregational Support for the GAMC, offered a prayer of thanksgiving to God for “bringing us together in Christ.” He thanked God for the past 100 years and prayed for the next 100.
The Rev. We Kun Park, moderator of the General Assembly of the PCK, addressed the congregation in Korean in the sermon, saying through an interpreter, “In past days, the PC(USA) took care of the Presbyterian Church of Korea. You fed us and clothed us and nurtured us. We will never forget the love of the Presbyterian Church (USA). We are indebted.”
“To repay our debt,” he continued, “we are trying to give our love to the people around us.”
“In times of uncertainty, we must encourage each other’s faith....We need to obey the guidance of the Holy Spirit and be Spirit-filled Christians who bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Only then can we become the certain light of the world,” he said.