Thursday, 15 August 2019

Co-workers in God’s Kingdom

Written by Rev. Dr Apwee Ting, Assembly National Consultant

Twenty-three Korean ministers in the Uniting Church, along with their partners, have gathered for an important time of fellowship and sharing for the Korean National Conference (KNC) Ministry Retreat on the Sunshine Coast from 12-15 August.

The theme of the conference “Better Together, Answers in Solidarity” reflects the deep belief that it’s better to be together in God’s mission and ministry. We are working together as co-workers in the kingdom of God.

Participants travelled from Melbourne, Tasmania, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Sunshine Coast and include ministers serving in Korean congregations and the wider Church. They were joined by UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer and representatives of different Synods working in multicultural ministry.

Reflecting on the conference and the theme, Rev. Seung Jae Yeon from Boronia Park UCA commented, “No matter what kind of ministry we contribute to UCA, we are a church who always discerns God’s calling in ministry.”

“We struggle together because of cultural and linguistic barriers. In Christ, we have common joys and struggles, frustrations and challenges as we journey together.”

“The theme affirms that our identity as ministry couples/agents is the gift and blessing we share with each other, finding answers in our unity and solidarity. We are way better together in solidarity.”

On our first evening together local Korean members served us an amazing Korean meal.

After the meal and time of fellowship, our host Rev. Gil Park led the opening service at Maroochydore Uniting Church with a message focusing on the importance of our identity in Christ.

On our second day, morning worship was held in Montville Uniting Church led by Rev. Kum Ran Chung. Rev Chung reflected on Luke’s Gospel 17:11-19. She called us to be compassionate to those who are outside our community.

It flowed into small group discussions about faith, hope, commitment and family life.

In the evening, the President gave a presentation on “Co-workers in God’s service - living with gratitude, compassion and hope”.

The next day began with Rev. Han Song leading our morning worship at Maroochydore UCA reflecting from John’s Gospel about how ministry is all for the glory of God. It is not about ourselves or our community but it is about God.

Queensland Synod Multicultural Committee members Pastor Louisa Yu and Rev. David Kim shared about the life of the multicultural church in Queensland Synod.

Rev. Swee Ann Koh shared about intercultural ministry in the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania.

On our final day, sharing in Holy Communion, we were reminded again that we share in the pain and glory of the body and blood of Christ, which has been broken and shared among many diverse members.

Our time together included the opportunity to see local sites, including Glass House Mountain in Caloundra, Eumundi Market and Noosa Beach.

During the week, many good and constructive relationships were strengthened among these leaders in our Church.

Rev. Han Song reflected, “I love the opportunity to be with other co-workers in ministry. We can share our joys and hope in Christ.”

“This conference gave me a lot of reflective and resting time with God.”

Rev. Hoon You added, “It is always a blessing to get together from all over the country, especially when we pray together. I feel the presence of God and the blessing is overflowing. Thanks be to God once again for calling us together in ministry.”