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Asian groups to gather in Anaheim; a homecoming for Korean Baptists

Peter Yanes, executive director of Asian American relations and mobilization at the SBC Executive Committee, speaks at the Asian American Collective meeting June 13, 2021, at the Music City Center in Nashville. BP file photo by Abbey Sprinkle

ANAHEIM, Calif. (BP) – The Asian Kickoff Gathering will celebrate the newest Asian fellowship on the Sunday before the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting.

Hosted by the Southern Baptist Asian Collective in partnership with SBC Executive Committee, the Asian Kickoff Gathering is for the 10-member Asian contingent of the SBC’s 35 ethnic fellowships, and for those individuals, churches and associations that minister among the various Asian ethnicities.

“We are looking forward to great fellowship and an opportunity to foster greater cooperation of how we can work together in God’s kingdom work,” Peter Yanes told Baptist Press.

Yanes is executive director of Asian relations and mobilization, and facilitates ethnic engagement for the SBC Executive Committee.

In addition, the Korean and Filipino fellowship groups plan to host annual meetings in the days surrounding the two-day annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Asian Collective

The Asian Kickoff Gathering is set for 3-6 p.m. Sunday, June 12, at the Anaheim Marriott.

“This is a gathering of pastors, leaders, and partners to kick off the SBC Pastors’ Conference and the SBC annual meeting,” Yanes said. “You don’t have to be Asian to attend. The Asian Kickoff Gathering is a way to promote ongoing partnerships among Asian fellowships and SBC entities for mission cooperation. Together we can do more than apart.”

Willie McLaurin, interim president/CEO of the Executive Committee, is guest speaker, as are leaders from the Orange County Baptist Association and California Southern Baptist Convention.

The new, 128-church SBC Myanmar churches’ fellowship is to install its first-ever leadership team at the Asian Kickoff Gathering. The Myanmar leadership team will develop a constitution and bylaws over the next year and present them at the group’s first annual meeting in 2023.

“We are looking forward to this second annual Asian Kickoff Gathering,” Yanes said. “The more we know about each other, the easier it is to work together for the sake of the millions of Asians in the United States around the world who do not yet know of God’s love for each of them, individually.”

More Asian events

An Asian American Collective Pastors Panel is set for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday, June 13, in Room 304C at the Anaheim Convention Center. Space is limited. Please contact Terrence Shay ([email protected]) or Hyung Lee ([email protected]) to register. They are two of four pastors coordinating the event.

“If you are an English-speaking pastor or chaplain serving in an Asian-American or Asian-Canadian context, come join us for this gathering where we will tackle the topic of ‘Pursuing biblical health together,’” said Shay, family ministry pastor at First Chinese Baptist Church in Walnut, Calif.

The presenters and panelists include Geoff Chang Ph.D. from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Pastors Albert Ting and Hanley Liu, from First Chinese in Walnut; and Pastors P.J. Tibayan and John Lee, from Bethany Baptist Church in Bellflower, Calif.

An Asian Pastors’ Wives gathering is set for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday in Room 303C at the Anaheim Convention Center. Space is limited; contact Shay or Lee to register.

“Pastors’ wives are in a unique position, as they are church members who are married to their pastors! So we want this luncheon to bless, encourage, and thank these Asian American and Asian Canadian sisters for all they do in their families and churches,” Lee said. “We also want this lunch to be an opportunity for pastors’ wives to meet and connect with one another that goes beyond this lunch and our time in Anaheim.”

Korean Council

This is a historic year for the Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America. The fellowship group of about 970 churches plans to gather June 13-15 at Berendo Street Baptist Church in Koreatown, Los Angeles.

Berendo Street Baptist, where Sung Kun Park has been pastor since 1990, was in 1957 the first Korean church in the United States started by Southern Baptists. It was the church that guided the formation of the Korean Council in 1980, and Berendo Street Baptist was the site of the Council’s first annual meeting in 1981.

“We are returning to the same church to celebrate 40 years of ministry as we celebrate our 41st annual meeting,” Executive Director James Kang told Baptist Press. “We expect to have over 1,200 attending. We have 100 churches all over Los Angeles. They are working together to host this meeting, so we expect to have a great celebration.”

The fellowship group’s 41st annual meeting is set for Monday through Wednesday, June 13-15, with Korean meals and snacks provided each day.

“Jesus: The Center of It All” is the theme of the three-day gathering, which starts at 5:30 p.m. Monday with a Korean dinner. The first session is a worship service at 7 p.m. opening with a 30-minute Concert of Praise led by Cornerstone Baptist Church in Torrance, Calif. The evening’s guest speaker is Byeong Rack Choi, pastor of Kangman Central Baptist Church, one of the largest churches in Seoul, South Korea.

A variety of workshops for pastors, their wives and church leaders are to take place Tuesday morning, when Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary, is to speak. Tuesday afternoon is open for attendees to join in the main session of the SBC annual meeting for the election of officers. The Korean Council will provide buses to make transportation easy to and from the Anaheim Convention Center.

A Missionary Sending Celebration and prayer time for church planters is to take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, with Vance Pitman as guest speaker. Pitman is president of the North American Mission Board’s Send Network.

Business sessions are to take place starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday, with reports, election of officers and a discussion of Vision 2027 among the leading items on the agenda. Choi is to be the guest speaker at the 7 p.m. Wednesday evening worship service and Youth Celebration.

Vision 2027 is connected to the SBC’s Vision 2025. Vision 2027 has seven goals, which include sending out 50 career missionaries through the International Mission Board and 20 through the Korean Council, and planting 30 churches “in strategic and needed cities,” Kang said.

In other Korean news, more than $200,000 was gathered as of April 30 for “Send Hope to Ukraine” from Korean Southern Baptist churches in the United States.

The new 432-page book, “History of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America” recently was published in Korean and will be presented to messengers at this year’s annual meeting of the Korean Council.

Filipino Fellowship

The Filipino Baptist Fellowship will meet from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Monday, June 13, in the Orange County Ballroom, Level 1, Sections 1 and 2 at the Anaheim Marriott.

The Papuri Singers USA are to lead in worship, and Darius Nable, pastor of The Church of the Good Shepherd in Cherry Hill, N.J., will bring a message around the Filipino Fellowship’s annual meeting theme: Celebrating God’s faithfulness.”

Fellowship, encouragement and some business will comprise the agenda, reported Executive Director Dan Santiago, pastor of Covenant Christian Church in Jacksonville, Fla.

Of the more than 47,000 churches in the SBC, at least 230 worship in a Filipino context and minister to the 4.5 million Filipino people in the United States.

Asian meetings not in Anaheim

The Vietnamese Baptist Union of North America is to meet June 30-July 3 at the Marriott Los Angeles for its 37th annual conference. The president is Peter Le, pastor of Vietnamese Faith Baptist Church in Dallas.

The Hmong Baptist National Association is to gather for its 31st annual conference on October 13-15 in Denver. The president is Chue Ger Herr, pastor of First Hmong Baptist Church in Kansas City, Missouri.

The United Lao Southern Baptist Fellowship is to meet for its annual meeting on June 24-26 in Bethany, Okla. This will be the first time for the Laotian Fellowship to meet since the pandemic. The president is Houmphanh Vongsurith, pastor of First Laotian Baptist Church of Dallas.