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Korean Baptists to meet in Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–For the first time in four years, the Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America will meet in the same city and same week as the Southern Baptist Convention.

About 500 pastors and lay leaders from Korean Southern Baptist churches across the United States and others from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America are expected to participate in the Korean fellowship’s annual gathering, Monday through Wednesday, June 22-24, at the Louisville Marriott East.

The council encompasses 830 Korean Southern Baptist churches.

With many of the attendees first-generation Korean, it is necessary to provide Korean meals for them, which is only possible in a city with a large-enough Korean church membership to cook kim-chi (cooked cabbage with a variety of spices), bolgogi (barbecued beef), makguksu (noodle soup) and more. So, during the last three years when the SBC annual meeting has been in cities without a sizable contingent of Korean Southern Baptists, the fellowship has met at another time and place, so that Koreans could have the opportunity to participate in both annual meetings.

In another change from previous years, rather than having a guest speaker from Korea, the program will consist of pastors serving in America. Others will bring shorter testimonies of God’s work in their midst. Louisville-area Korean Southern Baptists will lead in praise and worship.

Also, usually a half-dozen men from the Korean Baptist Convention, Korean Baptist Seminary and prominent Baptist pastors in Korea attend the annual gathering of Korean Baptists in America. This year, however, because of continuing global economic concerns, no visitors from Korea are expected.

The theme of this year’s Korean Council sessions speaks to its leaders’ reaction to the likelihood of no international guest speakers or visitors: “We and the Lord and the Word,” which might be translated “The Lord and the Word is all we need.”

“We celebrate ourselves and our testimonies,” said Byung Jik Kim, Korean Council recording secretary and pastor of the Dover (Del.) First Korean Baptist Church.

The Korean Council sessions will begin at 6 p.m. Monday with a meal prepared by Louisville-area Korean Southern Baptists followed by an evening of praise and preaching.

Early morning prayer will begin at 6 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by a Korean breakfast and, at 8:30 a.m., morning worship. Tuesday afternoon is free so Koreans can participate in the June 23-24 SBC annual meeting at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

“In the evening, special meetings for foreign missions, home missions and WMU [are scheduled],” Kim said. “Home and foreign missionaries will be speaking.”

A full children’s program and youth program also are scheduled during the council sessions.

Han Chung Ho, pastor of Immanuel Korean Baptist Church in Anaheim, Calif., is president of the Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America. Sin K. Baik, pastor of New Way Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., is first vice president; Jong Keol Yoo, pastor of True Light Korean Baptist Church in Louisville, second vice president. Chongoh Aum is the council’s executive director.
Karen L. Willoughby is managing editor of the Baptist Message, newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.