12th Assembly 2009

120 years of Australian/Korean friendship celebrated

The 12th Assembly on July 18 heard from two Uniting Church partners from Korea who thanked the Uniting Church for their ongoing friendship and support.

The General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church in Korea (PCK) and the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK) came to the Assembly to mark the 120th anniversary of the first Australian Presbyterian Missionary to Korea, celebrated on October 4 this year.

The Rev. Dr Cho Seong Gi, General Secretary of the PCK, said, “We remember the passion and dedication of the missionaries from the Presbyterian Church of Australia … who came to Korea to witness and live the good news of Jesus Christ. This year we came to celebrate the 120th anniversary of Christian Mission in Korea since 1889.”

Dr Cho specifically mentioned the Rev. Dr John Brown — “the best Korean speaker among the missionaries” — who was his teacher and mentor.

The Rev. Park Soo Kil, Moderator of the PROK, said, “We join with you in solidarity as both our churches recognise the need for justice for all creation.

“You seek decision and action on social justice, trade, environment and ministry. We too are focusing on the challenges of destruction of environment and commit our services as a partner church to changing and renewing.

“We pray for you and with you and we ask for your continued prayers as we work for peace and reunification on [the Korean] peninsula, Asia and the world.

“Let’s work for peace and justice for all people.”

President of the Uniting Church in Australia, the Rev. Alistair Macrae, responded warmly, saying, “We are greatly enriched by your presence, especially in this year.”

He said he had been profoundly influenced by the McKenzie sisters, who established what is now a world class hospital in Pusan.

“We have a wonderful and very rich relationship with the churches in Korea,” he said. “We look forward to a continuing relationship.”