Bigger God, deeper in Scripture, and wider fellowship. That was what Hebron Christian Reformed Church in Fife, Wash., found as participants in a program of extended education for Korean congregations.
For many Korean CRC congregations, being united within the family of Christian Reformed churches is a challenge. So for the past three years, Classis Pacific Northwest has provided extended education for Korean congregations led by Rev. Gilbert Kim.
“It is urgently important that [Korean] churches become more sensitive in keeping with the rules of the CRC,” Kim said.
In 2010 and 2011, Kim led two seminars a year at six churches in Anchorage, Alaska, and in Fife, Kent, Seattle, and Tacoma, Wash. In 2011, classis renewed the program for another two years.
The primary goal is to acquaint the churches with the CRC’s Church Order, polity, doctrines, and confessions so that they can actively participate in all aspects of Christian Reformed ministry.
Some practices of the Korean churches are cultural, such as electing Kwonsas, female officebearers equivalent to male elders. But, as Kim emphasized, “One thing that’s undeniably disturbing to both the [Korean churches] and the classis is that the Korean brothers and sisters in the have never found the place where they are supposed to belong.”
Thanks to the extended education program, Korean churches and the classis are sowing the seeds of belonging. There are reports of growing networking among the pastors, and events such as a visit from Dr. Jay Shim of the theology department of Dordt College in Iowa.
Rev. Mark Davies, chair of the classis interim committee, said, “I thank God for Rev. Gilbert Kim’s faithful and effective work in this program, and commend this as a model for possible implementation in other parts of our Christian Reformed Church.”