Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Korea 6 -Wednesday 8th May 2012

For my final day in Seoul I visited a seminary of which the dean in Rev Dr Heon Soo Kim, whom I had met through being on an ICRC committee together. We last met in Philadelphia.
The seminary was about 50 minutes drive from my hotel and I was picked up by one the of students. This is a small seminary with four students, committed to the Reformed faith and belonging to a denomination of six congregations. I was asked to deliver the same lecture as I had given to the Conference on "The Letter of Jude and its Relevance to Reformed Theology Today." The students were avidly interested and we discussed the lecture and other aspects of Jude's letter for about an hour afterwards!
I saw round the seminary building, built and maintained by this church. The church building is situated just across the road from the seminary in a very quiet part of Seoul. Even the sound of the traffic is hardly noticeable! Dr Kim is assisted by others in the teaching programme but he is full-time dean of the seminary.

Dr Kim and I, accompanied by a Korean Chinese student then went to a very pleasant Chinese restaurant a short drive from the seminary where we enjoyed a splendid Chinese meal. I think I counted seven courses! Actually each was quite small, necessarily, but very tasty. I tried some sea creatures I had never even heard of before and a marinated egg which had been prepared Chinese style by being left marinating in sawdust for one month! I'm not sure what my chickens back home would say to that! It was very tasty!

In the evening I preached at the church's mid-week meeting. I had been asked to preach a sermon on the message of Jude, which I tried to do, taking as the main points: (1) The Entrance of Nominal Christianity; and (2) The Battle for Biblical Christianity. Dr Kim had expressed an interest in this theme as one which he saw as relevant to the challenges facing the Church in Korea at the present time. After the service I joined Dr Kim and the minister of the congregation in a custom which they have in this congregation and was a first for me. We went up each aisle bowing to each pew while its occupants bowed to us. I can imagine the faces in the pews at Garrabost if I suggested doing this after every service! I was then taken back to the hotel by a member of the congregation Mr Sam Oh, who lectures at Sungkyunkwan University.

I have enjoyed my busy week in Seoul, but look forward to getting home. The Koreans are very hospitable and kind people and I have met with courtesy and respect everywhere. They are also a very efficient people. Everything seems to be so well organised, from airports to conferences. They take pride in their work and are concerned to provide an excellent service. I'm sure they have their problems like we do, and the Church there is facing challenges similar to those we face in the West. However, they seem to be concerned to stave off a threatening decline and are passionately committed to mission at home and abroad. If I take home but that concern it will have been a worthwhile trip.

1 comment:

  1. Big trip for you! We're looking forward to our visit with you. What is the precise location of your home and church meeting hall?