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Korean Baptists to meet in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)–The annual gathering of the Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America will be June 14-16 in Orlando, Fla.

More than 850 Korean churches affiliate with the Southern Baptist Convention.

The Korean fellowship meets when possible in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting, set for June 15-16 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

“We want to have a sense of unity with the Southern Baptist Convention,” said Chongoh Aum, executive director of the Korean council. “When the number of Korean churches is so small [in an SBC host city], it is not easy to support the Korean council meeting there. We like to have the same place as the SBC annual meeting, so we get fellowship from Koreans and from SBC.”

Many of the Koreans who attend the council’s annual meeting prefer to eat Korean food, which is prepared by people in the city where the gathering takes place and under the direction of an annual meeting food committee. When there are not enough churches in the city selected for the SBC’s annual meeting to help feed upwards of 800 people, the Korean council’s annual meeting is held in a different city.

Florida, with its 36 churches that worship in a Korean context — including three in Orlando — is eager to serve Koreans from across North and South America, and from Korea, Aum said.

A key discussion this year will be what members envision for next year’s 30th anniversary celebration of the fellowship, Aum said.

This year’s 29th annual gathering will open with a worship service Monday evening, June 14, in a ballroom at the Mariott Airport Hotel in Orlando.

Reports and speakers will fill the Tuesday morning session. Tuesday afternoon will be left open for the SBC annual meeting. Worship and more reports are slated for Tuesday evening. Wednesday will be set aside for the election of officers and other business, while worship and more reports are scheduled that evening.

Reports will be presented from the various departments within the Korean council, such as education, home missions, foreign missions, Woman’s Missionary Union. Representatives from the Korean Baptist Seminary and from the Korean Baptist Convention, both in South Korea, will bring greetings.

Among topics to be discussed during the Korean council sessions: ministering in the 21st century, church planting, marriages of Koreans and non-Koreans, retirement issues and the needs of pastors’ wives.

Also during the meeting, awards will be presented to pastors who have served 20 years at one church and $500 scholarships will be presented to 20 graduating high school seniors.

“The purpose of the Korean council is definitely fellowship, connections,” Aum said. “We want to have a good relationship with the Southern Baptist Convention and with Korea. That is why every year key figures from the Korean seminary and the Korean Baptist Convention come here, and that is why at the time of their annual convention the president and executive director of the Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America go there.”

Parents are encouraged to bring their children to the age-appropriate activities offered during the council’s annual meeting. A day camp environment is scheduled for children through the sixth grade, with crafts, music, games and field trips as well as Bible study and worship. A separate nursery for the youngest also is provided.

Teens will meet with Jay Kim, a Virginia pastor and licensed psychologist who is a former pastor’s son. For the last 25 years, he has involved Korean high school and junior high students in an energetic program at a separate location from the Korean council’s annual meeting. Kim’s sessions this year will aim at strengthening teens’ bonds with God and with their parents. Music will be provided by the high-energy 11-member Salt and Light Junior group of Korean instrumentalists and vocalists from Virginia. Testimonies and dramatic elements also will be part of the teen program. Additionally, the youth will practice for a musical to be presented ruing the Korean council’s Wednesday night service.

“We did this 12 years ago, when we last were in Orlando,” Kim said. “It was a real wonderful night for pastors, wives and children…. It was a one-hour program; we’ll do the same thing this year. I got the idea from the main SBC [annual meeting].” The concept will involve missions, Kim said, but how it all will shape out, he won’t know until he gets to Orlando.

“We always have to play by ear,” Kim said. “I have to wait and see what happens. I want these kids involved every minute. From my 25 years experience I know how to juggle.” If he has more teens, he will add more stories or bigger crowds to the mission-related vignettes to the musical; if he has fewer, Kim said he can add depth to the vignettes.

Kim also has been asked to be one of five people to present information to the Korean council about their areas of ministry. Kim will speak on family relationships from his expertise as a professional psychologist.

Kim, in a special reference to second-generation preacher’s kids, noted, “They are going through a much harder time than any other teenager. They have many pressures. They have to be a model and an example, and at the same time they live in two worlds — the Korean world of their parents and the world of their classmates.”

Jeena Kang, wife of James Kang, pastor of Global Community Church in Portland, Ore., is leading the WMU’s emphasis this year. Daytime activities will be in conjunction with the national SBC WMU annual meeting.

A group of Korean pastors’ wives have been invited to sing during the national WMU event, Kang said. She is to present information about WMU during the Tuesday evening session of the Korean council.

The officers of the Korean council are: president, Sin K. Baik, pastor of Atlanta New Way Korean Baptist Church in Atlanta; first vice president, Kyung Tae Cha, pastor of Bethany Korean Baptist Church in Layton, Utah; second vice president, Jong-oh Lee, pastor of First Korean Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.; secretary, Hyeok Kim, pastor of Global Mission Baptist Church in Garden Grove, Calif.; and treasurer, In Gyun Oh, pastor of Hanuri Korean Baptist Church in Carrollton, Texas. All were elected last summer at the Korean council’s annual meeting in Louisville, Ky., to a one-year term. Aum is the council’s executive director, the group’s only salaried position.
Karen L. Willoughby is managing editor of the Baptist Witness of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Translation provided by Kyung Won “Daniel” Song, pastor of Korean Baptist Church in Binghamton, N.Y.