A warm handshake and an enthusiastic “Happy New Year!” greeted the 500 guests who turned out to celebrate the Korean New Year, hosted by Holland (Mich.) Korean Church.
Chicago Korean Dance Company performs a traditional Korean fan dance.
Holland Korean Church is a fledgling church plant supported by the Christian Reformed Church, the Reformed Church in America, and the Presbyterian Church-USA.
“We wanted to introduce the community to Korean culture and to the new Korean church,” said Rev. Kim, founding pastor of Holland Korean Church, which began in May 2011.
A highlight of the afternoon was a special performance by the Chicago Korean Dance Company. Dancers wearing colorful silk hanboks, traditional Korean dresses, performed a number of folk dances, including a dramatic drum dance and a mesmerizing fan dance.
The program also included a violin performance by Myung-Huyn Kim, a Holland Christian High School exchange student; a magic show; and a demonstration of Tae Kwon Do, a Korean martial art. After the two-hour program, guests were treated to Korean rice cakes.
“It was a fun event [and] great to see such a crowd,” said Dan Walcott, a ministry associate at Bethany CRC, who meets regularly with Kim.
The church holds its Korean-language services at Bethany CRC and serves a growing Korean population in West Michigan, including business people and engineers as well as students from Calvin Theological Seminary, Hope College, and Holland Christian High School.
One Korean couple who has lived in the Holland area for 30 years came to the New Year celebration and attended worship services at the church the following two Sundays. “They are not Christians, but they came to the church,” said Kim. “That is one great benefit [of the event], a great testimony.”