After 120 Years, the Presbyterian Mission Shifts from East to West

LOUISVILLE - A 120-year cycle of Presbyterian mission was completed on Nov. 8, 2002 with an announced pledge from the National Korean Presbyterian Council (NKPC) that it will financially support twenty Presbyterian Church (USA) missionaries for the next decade.

The NKPC, which represents about 400 Korean-American congregations in the PC(USA), said the pledge was "the best way" to celebrate two key anniversaries: the 120th of the arrival of Presbyterian missionaries in Korea and according to the Rev. Insik Kim, coordinator for East Asiaand the Pacific in the Worldwide Ministries Division, the 100th of the arrival of the first Korean immigrants in the United States.

Kim told the Presbyterian News Service that the Korean churches now devote $2 million annually to mission support, much of it outside the General Assembly's mission budget. "They felt it was time that our mission giving better reflect our close relationship with the PC (USA)," he said.Some of the new missionaries may be Korean-American missionaries already in the field, but not under PC(USA) appointment. The NKPC moderator, Dok Hyun-Cho, said he hopes the first two appointments can be made by next June.

The NKPC also pledged to contribute an undisclosed amount to PC(USA) mission projects around the world, and set a goal of establishing 200 new Korean Presbyterian congregations in the next decade.Kim noted that in the 120 years since Presbyterian missionaries went to Korea, the church there has flourished despite political upheavals, wars and the division of the Korean peninsula. "These Christians have just refused to give up," he said, "and now the Presbyterian church in Korea is one of the strongest in the world."Kim recalled the NKPC's commitment "a challenge to the rest of the denomination, to leave our differences behind and work together for Christ's mission.

"The NKPC also said it will consider giving new-church development assistance to presbyteries in Mexico; to encourage Korean-American Presbyterians to consider short-term, volunteer mission service; and to work with WMD leaders to make PC(USA) mission more apparent in Korean Presbyterian congregations.

"From humble beginnings 120 years ago, God has blessed Korean Presbyterians," Kim said. "Now they bless us [Presbyterian Church of USA]."