The Presbytery of Greater Atlanta announced the death of the Rev. In Soo (James) Jung, pastor of the largest Korean PC(USA) church, Korean Community Presbyterian Church (KCPC). He died suddenly on April 17, 2016—his 61st birthday—shortly after returning from a mission trip in Cambodia.
Jung began his ministry at KCPC in May 1995 and served 20 years as head of staff. Under his leadership the church grew to over 3,000 worshippers, housing a vibrant Korean speaking and English speaking congregation. He was responsible for a massive building campaign that came to completion in 2003. He also served on the board of Columbia Theological Seminary for eight years.
“Rev. Jung’s leadership will be sorely missed, not just in the Korean Presbyterian family, but in the larger community of Atlanta and the many places in the world where he was personally engaged in hands on mission, bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said the Rev. Donna E. Wells, stated clerk of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta.
The memorial service was held in the main sanctuary of KCPC April 19 and a farewell service was held the morning of April 20. An estimated 1,700 people attended the services to pay tribute to Jung in appreciation of his dedicated services not only for the church but also for the whole Korean-American community nationwide. Dr. Leanne Van Dyk, president of Columbia Theological Seminary, gave a remembrance speech at the memorial service recalling Jung’s passion and vision toward global Christianity over the world. The Rev. Hyunchan Bae, chair of National Council of Korean Presbyterian Churches, also participated to share his tribute with the congregation and to offer benediction in the farewell service.
“[Rev. Jung’s] most recent contribution to the Presbytery was to help spearhead a new relationship between the Presbytery and the other Korean Presbyterian churches in Atlanta,” said Wells. “Through his leadership, a new partnership has come into being: ECKAM, the Evangelical Coalition of Korean American Ministries. Through ECKAM, the presbytery and our Korean Churches have begun to work more closely together to achieve greater communication, and most importantly a greater understanding and a vehicle to work through denomination concerns within the Korean community.”
Wells concluded, “We are grateful for his many years of faithfulness, dedication, and tireless efforts to share the good news of our savior, Jesus Christ.”
Jung leaves behind his wife, YoungHwa Jung, and son, Sunkyo Jung.