Orientation Gives Korean Pastors a Little Old with New

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For 23 Korean pastors from California, an orientation to the Christian Reformed Church included a church-basement feast of turkey sandwiches, potato chips, and orange Jell-O.

Christian Reformed Home Missions arranged the pastors’ visit to West Michigan to help them better understand some of the historical “DNA” of the CRC, as well as the church body that exists today.

The pastors visited Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids as well as two of the denomination’s founding churches, Graafschap CRC and Pillar CRC in Holland, Mich.

Rev. Tong Park, regional leader for the Korean churches in southern California, said the 100th Korean CRC has just formed. He explained why standard orientations would not work for these pastors. “Korean churches are first-generation [immigrants], and [the pastors] are not fluent in English,” he said.

Park noted that many of the pastors had not traveled since arriving from Korea. “It gives them a new perspective, and they can see with their own eyes,” he said.

Rev. EunSung Lee from East Bay Korean CRC in El Cerrito, Calif., spoke through a translator of how the orientation was helpful. “I was able to understand the denomination, and I gained pride to be part of the denomination,” he said. “I’m now capable of telling my congregation what our denomination is about.”

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