On January 23rd, the World Methodist Council officers and staff met with six leaders of the Korean Methodist Church (KMC) at its head office in Seoul to prepare for the 2018 World Methodist Council meeting, and to share prayers for peace and unification on the Korean Peninsula.
Following introductions Rev. Nack-Hwan Kim (acting general secretary for KMC of Board of Missions) greeted those gathered and reflected on the honor of hosting the World Methodist Conference in 2006. Presiding Bishop Myung-Gu Kim later spoke to the group and shared that The Korean Methodist Church is pleased to once again host the World Methodist Council for its meeting at Kwanglim Methodist Church July this year. This opportunity to host is meaningful because churches in Korea are currently facing challenges of declining membership amidst a global economic crisis. This is also an opportunity for young elders and lay persons to communicate with other world Methodist churches to grow Methodism throughout the world, and the encounters will bring solidarity and prayer around peace and unification of Korean peninsula.
WMC General Secretary Ivan Abrahams responded with a brief overview of the Council meeting planned for July this year. He shared that the Council concluded the 2016 World Methodist Conference in Houston under theme of “One,” and that its Steering Committee meeting last year undertook this theme seeking to implement some of the outcomes of the
conference: Poverty, Migration and Discrimination working toward peace. Council meeting will be a place for businesses, but also place where we listen to each other and stories from around the world. It will also be a place to cast vision and measure strategic objectives.
Abrahams admitted that it is helpful to hear of the challenges that have been faced by the KMC. The two major reasons why the WMC wishes to return to Seoul is to honor the WMC president, Rev. Dr. J.C. Park (elected 2016), and to express solidarity with the peace efforts of the KMC, praying and witnessing fervently to peace on Korean Peninsula.
The following day, the WMC officers and staff visited Kwanglim Methodist Church, in the Gangnam-gu area of (South) Seoul. The church was at one time reported to be the largest Methodist Church in the world, and has been nurtured by Bishop Dr. Sundo Kim, and is now under the leadership of his son, Rev. Dr. Chung-Suk Kim. The church will be the venue for the upcoming World Methodist Council meeting, and many opportunities are planned for Council delegates to interact with members of the local church and beyond.
Contract negotiations are currently underway for the host hotel for the World Methodist Council, and once completed, reservation and registration links will be shared. Post-meeting tours are also planned, and will be shared once itineraries are finalized.
For up-to-date information, be sure to visit worldmethodistcouncil.org.