Yay! Mennonite World Conference has highlighted ReconciliAsian for the Mennonite World Fellowship Sunday which is observed around the world on January 21, 2015. We are humbled to know that Mennonites around the world will be reading our story and interceding for the ministry of ReconciliAsian! Our story starts on page 7. https://www.mwc-cmm.org/sites/default/files/website_files/wfs_2015_stories_en.pdf
For those familiar with the author Anne Lamott, one of her more recent books is entitled, Help, Thanks, Wow: the Three Essential Prayers summarizing that these three simple words capture the heart of our prayers to God. In trying to succinctly capture the right words about October 25th, these words also seem appropriately fitting.
On October 25th, over 100 guests gathered at Pritchard Hall in Sierra Madre Congregational Church for our second annual ReconciliAsian fundraising dinner. Although we began planning this event to share the vision of ReconciliAsian and the financial needs for the next year, we wanted it to be more than that. We wanted it to be a night of truly giving thanks for the incredible year we have had and also celebrating the unexpected doors that have opened for us for next year. And what better ways to do that than through personal stories of ReconciliAsian from our amazing friends and partners?
Here are some of the highlights from their stories:
• Kyunglan Suh, a professor of intercultural studies at Fuller Seminary, shared about the countless obstacles she has faced as a female pastor in a Korean immigrant church. However, through her journey with ReconciliAsian, she has delved into the field of restorative justice which has helped her to reframe her theology, ministry, and personal faith.
• Jeeho Park, the director of Center for Conflict Transformation, joined us via video from Korea. Jeeho is also the representative of ReconciliAsian in Korea who encouraged the guests to “keep creating more conflict” to emphasize that conflict is a normal part of our daily life.
• Gilberto Perez Jr., the director for Intercultural Development and Educational Partnership at Goshen College flew in from Indiana to announce the new partnership between Goshen College and ReconciliAsian as we find creative ways to promote higher education to urban Asian youth. We were also honored to have Jim Brenneman, the President of Goshen College join us for the evening with his wife, Terri.
• Father Jun Nakai, a Japanese Jesuit priest who is committed to the work of reconciliation between Korea and Japan, powerfully shared about the courage of the Korean comfort women he has met (these women were used as sex slaves to “comfort” Japanese soldiers during World War 2). The surviving and living comfort women have sought justice and formal apology from the Japanese government for the atrocities done to them by demonstrating in front of the Japanese embassy in Korea every Wednesday since 1992. When Japan was devastated by the 2011 Fukushima earthquake and the nuclear reactor disaster, the comfort women offered words of healing and strength during their Wednesday demonstration, “Stand up, Japan. Stand up!” These halmoni, or grandmothers, were bringing words of hope and restoration, not destruction of Japan.
• We laid hands and prayed for Daniel and Haruka Lee as they prepare to return to Japan after studying in the United States. They plan to begin the ministry of ReconciliAsian in Japan as they see the distrust and tension growing between the Japanese and Korean Japanese. They hope to plant seeds of peace as they seek God’s guidance upon their return.
• The evening ended with fun raffle prizes and silent auction items donated from friends and supporters of ReconciliAsian including David Augsburger, Christine Chang, Al and Anne Dueck, Mike and Wendy Gabelman, Gyedo Jeon, Heekyung Kim, Jeehye and Sunghwan Kim, Karen Kim, Lisa Paek Kim, Frank Lee, Kirk and Bea Lee, Debora Meoljono, and Connie Park. Thank you!
Through the fundraising event, we raised over $11,000! We are so grateful for the generous and sacrificial gifts the guests have donated to ReconciliAsian.
If you were unable to attend but would also like to help us reach our goal of $20,000, it is not too late. You can send your tax-deductible donation to:
P.O. Box 70466
Pasadena, CA 91117
Or give online at:
and hit the Paypal button.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support.
Conflict transformation, restorative justice, circle process- these are relatively new concepts for many Korean Americans and need to be fleshed out and practiced in small groups. Throughout the summer, we had wonderful opportunities to introduce these concepts and work to implement them in various settings.
ReconciliAsian Summer Book Club
Following the Spring Justice and Peacemaking Discipleship School, ReconciliAsian book club was formed. Those interested in studying and applying these important peacemaking principles in our homes, churches, and communities met for five weeks in Pasadena, CA. We went through the Little Book Series, and began with John Paul Lederach’s Little Book of Conflict Transformation translated into Korean by Jeeho Park, and then the Little Book of Circle Processes by Kay Pranis. One of our participants, Nan Yun, commented:
“Our time together has made me realize that my view of the gospel was limited- that the gospel is all about love, love on the cross, but not on the impact that he brought upon his community, his society. I think as a Christ follower, I need to really think about how I am to consider the impact I am having in my community. Especially as a pastor, I have a group of kids that I need to lead, so I leave with a lot of things to ponder and tools to practice with.”
Youth and Family Conference
From August 1-2, ReconciliAsian led a two-day junior high family conference at All Nations Church (ANC) in Sunland, CA focusing on loving and communicating well as a family. The youth and parents met separately for two sessions to learn about conflict transformation skills and restorative justice concepts interwoven in lively cooperative games and small group discussions. The youth sessions were led in English while the parents sessions were in Korean. The last session was a joint session with the youth and parents presented in Konglish. In our last session, every participant came up to talk about something they learned that they want to take with them. Some of the comments included:
- I learned that conflict is normal (youth).
- The purpose of our existence is love and reconciliation (parent).
- I learned more about respect and love, active listening, and I-message, not you-message (youth).
- I hope that I will spend more time with family members rather than studying in my room alone (youth).
- I will lay aside my pride and focus on restoring relationships instead (parent).
- We are going to make a family respect agreement (parent).
Radical Journey and DOOR Hollywood
How does peacemaking and mission connect? On August 28th, ReconciliAsian was asked to address this to a team from Radical Journey, a great program of Mennonite Mission Network that sends out young adults to serve overseas for ten months. As part of their mission training before heading to Indonesia and South Africa, the team came to Los Angeles to engage the diversity of culture and languages of this city.
Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection (DOOR), a wonderful organization in Hollywood that focuses on urban ministry and leadership, also came to hear about how we engage peacemaking and mission with the Korean American community. It was a great time highlighting the centrality of the ministry of reconciliation, especially in urban ministry, and also to explore ways to work together for peace in the city of Los Angeles.
We have been blessed to have these opportunities to learn, practice, and train with a committed group of people who hunger for a deeper way to connect and love God, their family, churches, and their neighbors locally and globally.
<강사 및 강의 소개>
김성환 목사 (가디나장로교회 담임목사)
- (Fuller Seminary), ThM (Homiletics, Princeton Seminary)
- 개강예배 설교를 통해 이번 강의들을 함께하는 삶이라는 하나의 주제로 맥을 이어주는 시간이 될 것입니다.
이인엽 박사 (Spring Arbor University)
- PhD (국제정치학, University of Georgia)
- 풍부한 정보와 탄탄한 학문성을 바탕으로 하여 평화의 관점으로 한반도 갈등을 해석하고 실천의 방향성을 모색하도록 도울 것입니다.
서경란 (Fuller Theological Seminary & Azusa Pacific University)
- MA & Ph.D. (Intercultural Studies, Fuller Seminary), MA (Christian Education, Talbot)
- 화해(Reconciliation)는 하나님의 선교에서 중요한 주제입니다. 특히 한국 교회가 더 이상 개인주의적으로 축소된 복음이 아닌 전 우주적인 화해의 복음을 회복하되 회복적 정의를 통하여 깨어진 관계들이 화해를 이루는 사역으로 나가도록 도와줍니다. 이런 의미에서 회복적 정의의 렌즈를 통해우리 한국 기독교인들의 생각의 전환이 일어나고 삶 속에서 화해를 이루어감으로 우리 한국 교회가 하나님의 선교에 동참하기를 소원합니다.
Jill Shook (Making Housing Happen의 저자)
- (Denver Seminary).
- 지난 2기에 이어서 이번 3기에는 downtown에 있는 affordable housing에 직접가서 실제적인 내용들을 듣고 배우는 시간을 갖게 됩니다. 이민자나 유학생 모두에게 구체적인 공동체성을 이루어가는 것이 어떤 것인지를 보여주는 시간이 될 것입니다.
Sue Park-Hur (ReconciliAsian co-director, MVMC pastor)
- M.A.(Christian Education & Mission, Wheaton College)
- 회복을 목적으로 하는 교육을 가정과 수업 시간을 통해 실행해 가는 철학과 방법을 함께 나누는 시간이 될 것입니다.
박지호 (Center for Conflict Transformation 원장)
- A. (갈등전환학 과정 중, Eastern Mennonite University)
- 미주뉴스앤조이 편집장을 하면서 많은 교회갈등을 목격하게 되었고, 그 해결책을 고민하다가 EMU에서 갈등전환학을 공부하는 중이며, 특별히 교회갈등을 어떻게 긍정적인 방향으로 전환해 갈 것인가 배우고 그 실행방안을 함께 고민하는 시간이 될 것입니다.
이태후 (ROCK Project director)
- (Westminster Seminary)
- 이태후 목사님은 필라델피아 빈민촌에서 가난한 이들과 함께 이웃으로 살아가고 있습니다. 매년 여름 흑인 빈민 아동들을 위한 캠프를 운영하면서 지역에 변화를 일으키고 있습니다. 미주뉴스앤조이에 이목사님의 연재글들이 실려있습니다.
James Krabill (Mennonite Mission Network)
- (Centre for West African Studies, University of Birmingham, England)
- James Krabill 교수님은 Cote d’ivoire (Ivory Coast)에서 18년간 사역하신 선교사 출신으로 ethnomusicology(민족 음악)으로 박사를 받으신 분입니다. 각나라와 족속에 하나님께서 부여해 주신 음악을 통해 계시록 7장의 위대한 예배의 장면을 이루어가는 비전을 평화와 함께 설명해 주실 겁니다.
허 현 Hyun Hur (ReconciliAsian co-direcor & MVMC pastor)
- DMiss & M.A. (Inter-Cultural Studies 과정 중, Fuller Seminary)
- 전체 주제들을 정리하면서 정의와 평화를 일구는 제자들로 살아가면서 각자의 부름받은 영역에 보다 더 전문적으로 참여할 수 있도록 방향을 제시합니다.
ReconciliAsian has invited Ben Torrey, the Director and CEO of Three Seas Training Center and the Fourth River Project, to speak at the Joint Prayer Meeting for NK at Fuller Seminary. Come and join us for this special event as Ben Torrey envisions reconciliation and reunification of the Korean Peninsula.
Time: Sep. 15, 2014 (Mon) 6:30-9:00 PM
Location: Fuller Theological Seminary Travis Auditorium (135 North Oakland Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101)
Speaker: Ben Torrey (Jesus Abbey)
YOU are invited. (Message will be delivered in both Korean and English)
Free dinner will be provided from 6pm.
RSVP is required (contact Hyun Hur at email@example.com)
Ben Torrey grew up in Korea where, as a teenager, he joined with his parents, Jane and Archer Torrey, in pioneering Jesus Abbey, a community of prayer, high in the Taebaek Mountains of Kangwon Do. Along with his father and ten other young men, he lived in a tent for six months while clearing land and erecting the first Jesus Abbey buildings.
From 1979 until 2005, Ben served as a bi-vocational minister (ordained in the Evangelical Apostolic Church of North America http://www.eacna.org) while working in the fields of computer systems development and knowledge management. He also served as the administrator for The King’s School, a Christian Middle and High School in Bolton, Connecticut. Associated with the school since its inception in 1994, he was Chairman of the Board of Directors from 1998 until his resignation in 2004 in order to devote himself fully to the work of preparing for the opening of North Korea.
In 2003, the members of Jesus Abbey gave Ben the responsibility of developing the Three Seas Training Center and the Fourth River Project. In connection with this work, the Torreys also established The River of Life School, a Christian middle and high school preparing the Unification Generation. They returned to Korea, living at Jesus Abbey, in 2005. He was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of Jesus Abbey in 2012.
Ben has spent time in North Korea. Initially, he went for a ten-day trip in 2007 touring medical facilities and rest homes. Subsequently, he served as a food monitor for a U.S. food distribution program from September through December of 2008.
Ben has been a student of history, comparative cultures, economics, theology and related subjects for many years. He has been writing and lecturing in these subjects for the past thirty years.
We want to thank The Mennonite for highlighting ReconciliAsian in the September 2014 article!
http://www.themennonite.org/issues/17-9/articles/Mennonite_center_creates_international_peacemakers. This is a repost from The Mennonite.
The ReconciliAsian peace center brings peace and reconciliation training to the Korean-American community in Los Angeles.
Hyun Hur, Su Park-Hur, with daughter Lynn Hur (standing) and sons Yul Hur and Guhn Hur (at table), are co-directors of the ReconciliAsian peace center in Los Angeles. Photo by John Roth.
Co-directors Hyun Hur and Sue Park-Hur, who launched the center in January 2013, say that the tools of peace and conflict transformation are gifts the Mennonite church can offer other denominations. The Hurs attend Mountain View Mennonite Church in Upland, Calif., where they were installed as co-pastors in January.
More than 600 people have participated in programs organized by ReconciliAsian over the past year and a half of the peace center’s existence. The couple has coordinated day-long seminars, month-long discipleship workshops, shorter seminars and weekly book club meetings. Every session addresses peace and conflict transformation from a Mennonite perspective and offers practical guidance on healthy ways to navigate conflict and work for peace.
“One of our primary roles of reconciliation is to create a space for these types of conversations that you wouldn’t normally talk about in the church,” says Sue Park-Hur.
When they started ReconciliAsian, they were pastors for their house church, Church for Others, in Temple City, Calif., the only Korean Mennonite church on the West Coast, and the Hurs felt isolated from the other Korean churches in Los Angeles.
“We wanted to connect with other Korean churches,” says Hyun Hur. “We tried to think about what gift the Mennonites bring to other Christians, and we saw that we could build bridges through the peacemaking and conflict transformation work that Mennonites have done.”
All churches deal with conflict, and the Hurs knew of many Korean immigrant churches that had struggled with disagreements and had split rather than work through issues.
“Primarily, we want to help them know their new identity here as immigrants,” says Sue Park-Hur. “When you’re shaken up about who you are, you feel lost and like you can’t do anything. We wanted to teach practical things like ‘I’ messages and active listening skills, but we realized that to really touch the people and to reframe their understanding of conflict, we had to teach them Scripture and reframe their theology. We want them to see that their identity is to be an international peacemaker for God’s kingdom.”
Hyun Hur says they use scriptures such as 2 Corinthians 5:17-20, about God’s ministry of reconciliation, and Ephesians 2, where Jesus reconciles Jews and Gentiles. These teach people that a Christian’s mission on earth is to participate in Jesus’ reconciling ministry.
Korean leaders from different Christian denominations are now helping lead ReconciliAsian sessions. The spring justice and peacemaking discipleship school was held at a Presbyterian church.
These leaders also seek out the couple for their specialization. In July, Hyun Hur led a conflict and church seminar at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, Calif., with 10 Korean pastors.
“Now [Korean pastors] see him as more than just a local pastor but as a director of an organization that talks about conflict—and who doesn’t have conflict?” says Sue Park-Hur. “Before, they never would have asked him to talk because he was a Mennonite, but now they see him as a resource person in this field and are more open to talk about the struggles in their church and ask for help.”
In July, the Hurs visited the Mennonite Church USA offices in Elkhart, Ind., to share about their ministry and to meet some Mennonite leaders. The tie to Mennonite agencies started at the beginning of their ministry, when they connected with Hannah Heinzekehr, who then worked as a church relations associate for Mennonite Mission Network.
“I was impressed with how passionate they were about Jesus’ call to peacemaking,” says Heinzekehr, who is now director of communication for Mennonite Church USA. “It was an opportunity for Mennonite Mission Network to support people who wanted to do mission in their community. They are genuine bridge-builders because they are so relational. They truly are mission workers in L.A.”
To build stronger and deeper relationships with our Mennonite brothers and sisters who have been actively engaged in peace and reconciliation work, ReconciliAsian board proposed that we needed to visit the Mennonite Mecca- Goshen, Indiana. However, we didn’t know when would be the best time for such a trip. When Hyun was invited to speak at KOSTA Chicago- a Korean Christian conference that focuses on Korean international students studying in the United States, we knew that this summer would be the time to make an extensive trip to the Midwest.
June 23-July 1: Goshen and Elkhart, Indiana
Thanks to our amazing board member, Hannah Heinzekehr who organized our itinerary, our one week in the Goshen area was filled with meeting incredible people and organizations. Some of the highlights included:
- eating homemade veggie burgers with Joanna Shenk and Josh Kinder at the Prairie Wolf Collective at 10pm
- touring around the MCC office with Saulo Padilla and seeing the active volunteers at work compressing blankets, and putting together the school kits and the hygiene kits to send all over the world
- speaking at the MC USA office and thanking Sandy Miller and John Lapp of Mennonite Mission Network in person for the support that was impetus in the formation of ReconciliAsian
- meeting Dan Miller of Indiana-Michigan Conference and the church planting work God is placing in the heart of the conference
- having Larry and Wilma Miller open their beautiful home and hosting a dessert social for College Mennonite Church Homebuilders
- speaking at College Mennonite Church where they warmly welcomed us to share about our journey towards reconciliation (you can see video of the sermon here: http://collegemennonite.org/cmc_stream.php?filename=20140629) and having coffee time with Terry and Kay Shue after church
- visiting Andre Gingerich Stoner of MC USA in South Bend and meeting the amazing members of their intentional community- many who are students of Notre Dame- who are transforming their neighborhood with their presence and daily witness.
- connecting with Dean Rebecca Slough, Jewel Longenecker, and Allan Rudy-Froese of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and looking for collaborative work in the future
- touring around the beautiful campus of Goshen College
- spending time with Wilbert Shenk, Hyun’s mentor from Fuller Theological Seminary who was most influential in shaping Hyun’s theology of mission and church
- coffee meeting at the Electric Brew with Wes Bontrager of Yellowcreek Mennonite Church and hearing his committed love for Korea and the Korean Anabaptists in Korea
- reconnecting with a fellow Korean Mennonite, Saejin Lee, who attended Church for Others when she was in Los Angeles
- spending a lot of time with our gracious hosts, John and Ruth Roth, who spoiled us with great food and rich conversations the entire week
One of the most unexpected grace encounters came when we received a call from Gilberto Perez, the executive director of Intercultural and International Development at Goshen College. He invited us to partner with Goshen College in promoting higher education among Asian American youth. We gladly accepted, and as a result received a portion of the Lilly Foundation grant that Goshen College received to promote diversity in higher education! We are so grateful and honored for such collaboration.
July 1-7: KOSTA at Wheaton College
From Goshen, we drove towards Wheaton, Illinois. Every first week of July, Koreans from all over the United Sates gather on Wheaton College campus and hold an annual Christian conference called KOSTA. This year was their 29th gathering and about 1,000 Korean students- most who are international graduate school students- came together under the theme, “Our weakness, His Strength”. Hyun was invited to lead several workshops throughout the conference, and they were especially interested in his perspective as a pacifist and as a Korean Mennonite.
Some of the highlights from KOSTA included:
- seeing the staff and organizers’ spirit of volunteerism and deep commitment to serve and minister to the participants
- recognizing that although our perspective in theology and practice may be different from the wider evangelical audience of the conference, we felt humbled that they wanted to hear our views and practices and gave us the space to share our perspectives
- leading several workshops and recognizing that there is a growing interest in understanding restorative justice and peacemaking amongst the participants
- being interviewed to give a brief introduction about the Mennonite values and convictions that undergird our commitment to peace and reconciliation. (You can see the video clip here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=869624183067554).
- reconnecting with old friends who are scattered in the US as well as with those who came as speakers from Korea, and spending the whole week in fellowship together
Although the two weeks in the Midwest was quite intense, it was a time of refreshing and renewal. As we had prayed in the beginning of the trip, relationships with people we knew deepened as we sat and broke break, drank coffee, and had ice cream together. We were deeply encouraged by Mennonite faith leaders who have lived out their commitment to Christ and lived a way of peace sacrificially. We recognize that we stand on their shoulders to continue the work of peace. We were also excited to see a new generation of Koreans and felt hopeful about the possibilities of their future.
In a way, the direction of this trip- from Los Angeles to Goshen to Chicago- is the direction of our organization. Although we have Korean American roots, we have been influenced by the Mennonites, and we are now moving towards the larger Korean American community to educate, equip, and extend the vision of peace and reconciliation.