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Online Forum for Korean Clergy Features North Philly Pastor

Online Forum for Korean Clergy Features North Philly Pastor
Summer camp ministry started by Pastor Taehoo Lee in his North Central Philadelphia neighborhood (July 2007).
Taehoo Lee

During the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine, which discourages physical gathering, several online forums and training opportunities were quickly put together to support Korean pastors of the Christian Reformed Church, led by the Diversity Ministry within Resonate Global Mission.

On April 2 the first online missional forum featured guest speaker Rev. Taehoo Lee, pastor of the emerging CRC congregation North Philly Community Church. Lee shared from his experiences living in the inner-city North Central neighborhood, one of the poorest and most dangerous sections of the city of Philadelphia, and what it means to truly live Christ's call to love your neighbor. He quoted from his favorite Bible verse, Luke 4:18. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.”

Lee said since 2003, as a Korean American living in a predominantly African American neighborhood, he has hoped to better the lives of his African American neighbors’ children. In 2006 he started a summer camp, gathering children for daily activities for the month of July each year. They gave him the nickname 'Neverland Lee.'

He shared that a future dream of a community center for these children has seen God's providence in a contract for a building site.The hope is for a safe place for students to gather after school.

The forum was provided to leaders free of charge for missional learning, communicating and introducing their ministries. One participant, Rev. Kang Won Kim, senior pastor of Happy Valley CRC in Pleasanton, Calif., said he appreciated hearing Pastor Lee’s story of 14 years living in North Philly. "I was challenged by his devotion to live a true Christian life. His actions and this pandemic made me realize what our purpose is and how we can execute that purpose in every given situation—including the unfortunate and imperfect ones.”

Rev. Charles Kim, a Diversity Leader and Korean Ministry Coordinator with Resonate Global Mission, hosted the forum. It was one of several training sessions offered online throughout March and April. Others included “How to use online worship and small group gatherings effectively,” “How to use web cameras effectively,” and “Sharing missional vision” with Rev. Hun Suk Bae from Ann Arbor Hope CRC. Bae’s current ministry serves a community of international students and residents in the university town of Ann Arbor, Mich., using an intergenerational and multicultural ministry model.

"Truly, this online continuing education (at) this special quarantine time of COVID-19 has very unique, helpful opportunities for Korean leaders," Charles said.

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