And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
I came to the UK through the Council for World Mission 19 years ago as a mission partner. It wasn’t a common thing for British society to be ministered to by a Korean minister at that time. Still, albeit almost 150 years late, I came here to repay the extraordinary grace that enabled a British martyr to plant the seeds of the Gospel which brought forth great fruits in the Korean Church.
In general, Korean society is community-oriented, whereas British is individual. However, in the Church context, I found the opposite. While the churches in Korea achieved growth through individual salvation and the explosive revival of local churches, the churches in the UK, especially the URC, in my view, put more weight on social, environmental, and global issues rather than personal faith and practice.
Over the past 20 years, Korean society has chased after British-like society in various ways. The British are gradually getting more familiar with Korea through films, TV dramas, foods, and K-Pops in terms of culture, and younger people especially admire it. In this regard, I believe there are numerous opportunities and possibilities for both churches to face each other and move forward in the same direction.
When I came to my pastorate in Bexhill, one of the young church members, about 20, fancied working in Korea. My wife and I invited her to our home weekly and offered Korean lessons and food. She was a shy girl who wouldn’t speak in public. However, we encouraged her to make the church announcement every Sunday, and her confidence eventually grew. She went to South Korea last February as a qualified English teacher for primary schools, and she enjoys her new life there. I am launching Korean Culture Day for the community, inviting people, especially younger people, to explore and taste Korean culture through our church. These will be the tip of the iceberg we could explore. May God bless our future between the two churches.
Dear God, as we work in strange lands, help us to be a light in the darkness. Grant us the strength to adapt to new cultures and to serve your people faithfully. We pray for unity and understanding among all nations and peoples. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The Rev’d Terry Jin is the minister of Bexhill United Reformed Church in East Sussex