Meet Our Korean-Speaking Congregations
by Mark Hong
Did you know that there are nine Korean-speaking congregations in the Presbytery of Los Ranchos?
The list is as follows:
Community in Bellflower, Shin Il in Norwalk, Korean Independent in Artesia, New Praise in Cypress, Zion Central in Fullerton, SoCal Woori in Garden Grove, Orange Canaan in Santa Ana, Korean in Anaheim, and Korean Hope in Cerritos.
After the 2014 General Assembly dissolved Hanmi (it means Korea-America) Presbytery in the SoCal area, five (Korean Hope, New Praise, Zion Central, SoCal Woori, and Korean Independent) were transferred from Hanmi to Los Ranchos.
Currently, the pastors of these nine congregations meet monthly for a time of sharing meals and fellowship. This gathering was started in 2009 by the leaders of the four congregations who were existing Los Ranchos members (Orange Canaan, Community, Anaheim and Shin Il); after thirteen years, the gathering is still seeing strong participation. Many joint activities emerged from these gatherings of pastors, including officer training, retreats, and Lunar New Year Celebrations.
With a request from the staff of Los Ranchos, a session clerk training was held this past Sunday, October 30th, at Shin Il in Norwalk, not just for the ones from Los Ranchos but for all Korean-speaking congregations within the Synod. This event was a joint effort initiated by Los Ranchos, partnered with Synod and a group called Korean Presbyterian Caucus (KPC) in our area. The pastors and session clerks from thirteen congregations (seven from Los Ranchos) participated in the workshop for lively conversations and training. I want to thank Tom Cramer and the staff for their assistance.
The Korean-speaking congregations share common challenges as an immigrant community, and the pandemic has exacerbated their situations. However, all are continuing to be faithful to the Lord with their missions in the area they are located. Although the influx of immigrants from South Korea has slowed to a crawl and the tremendous church growth, which took place during the 80s, is no more, Korean-speaking congregations continue to provide much-needed ministry to Korean immigrants.
The Korean leaders are highly grateful for the care and sensitivity the Presbytery has displayed to meet their need for translation service during the Presbytery Meetings and with the written resources. Los Ranchos is the only Presbytery providing such service among the seven Presbyteries in the Synod and on behalf of the Korean community, I say, “Thank you, Los Ranchos.”
Back in 2019, the Presbytery produced a series of Spotlight Videos of all our churches based on their geographical region. A special spotlight video focused on the Korean-speaking churches. You can watch that video here.
Orange Canaan Presbyterian Church is the host of our upcoming Presbytery Gathering on November 17th. We hope all commissioners are able to attend and experience the gracious hospitality of this congregation, which is providing us all with a special Korean buffet dinner. The Orange Canaan Praise Team and Choir will lead us in worship and Rev. Inn Chul Kim will be preaching.