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Korean pastors call for repentance, unity (UM News)

Feb. 24, 2022

Ahead of Lent — a period of reflection, temperance and spiritual training — over 100 Korean United Methodist pastors released a statement urging repentance and unity amid challenging times.

The “Confession and Covenant” statement was published before the church leaders gathered for the Charisma Revival Feb. 21-24 at First United Methodist Church in Flushing, New York.

“The uncertainty facing the denomination has put Korean United Methodist churches and pastors into confusion and conflict, unable to respond with agency and clarity. Here, we repent for ignoring the workings of the Holy Spirit who birthed us into a holy church,” the statement said. “We have forgotten its holiness.”  

The statement also expresses great respect and honor to John Wesley as well as Henry G. Appenzeller, the Methodist missionary to Korea who started the Methodist Movement in the Korean Peninsula.  

“We are the seeds and the fruits of Methodism for such time as this,” the pastors wrote. “We thirst for the true living water that will quench us with the ‘power of the Holy Spirit’ that manifested in the early churches, gave life to Wesley’s ministry, and transformed society today.”

According to the statement, the Charisma Revival event has four aims:

  • To experience the charisma of the Holy Spirit and aim for a balanced, charismatic spirituality through spiritual discernment of the Scripture;
  • To acknowledge the history of charisma in the Scripture and aim for a permissive attitude;
  • To aim for a healthy spirituality based on the Scripture; and
  • To aim for a ministry centered on cooperation and connectionalism based on “the Holy Spirit’s uniting work in and among us.”

The pastors also pledged to pray “for the restoration of a truly proud, Wesleyan Spirituality and its ministry, and for the revival of the Church that will faithfully make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

The Rev. C. James Kim of First United Methodist Church in Flushing said that Wesleyan spirituality is not closed nor exclusive. 

“The right and left of Korean pastors will cooperate and participate in the Holy Spirit movement that integrates personal piety and social piety within the great Wesleyan perspective,” he said. 

Kim said that even though Koreans are a minority in the denomination, he sees them as a “spiritual majority.” 

“We are bigger than we think we are,” he said. “Our lives depend not on institutional survival, but on spiritual revival, and our spiritual revival is the way to our future.”