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Global Ministries Committee rebuilds, recruits

Even while the Global Ministries Committee for the Pacific Northwest Conference UCC and the Northwest Region of the Disciples of Christ is reorganizing following the death of its chair in a November car crash, plans are underway for a delegation to visit partners in the East Seoul Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK) from May 16 to 23.

Ed Evans presents a peace candle as a gift from Suquamish UCC to Jung, Byeong-gil, pastor of Song-Pa Church in Seoul presents candle to Ed Evans.    Photo courtesy of Ed Evans

The Global Ministries’ Disciples of Christ chair Lillian Moir of Blaine died in an accident in November near the Lummi Reservation.

With no UCC co-chair, the committee asked Ed Evans, who previously was on the committee and co-chair, to return. He agreed to function as convener.

The committee last met in January 2015, when they had agreed to continue to support partnerships with churches in Korea and Germany, as well as working with the UCC and Disciples nationally to determine a possible third partner.

The committee, which is to have eight UCC and  eight Disciples members, now has seven UCC members and four Disciples.  They met in January to discuss recruiting, the partnerships and other roles. They will have a retreat in June to build relationships in person.

The partnerships are about relationships and friendships, and sharing with people of different cultures and churches, Ed explained.

“We are looking for people who are interested in rebuilding our connections with the Berlin-Brandenburg Synod of the United Evangelical Church in Germany,” he said.

Ed, who is organizing the visit to South Korea, said there are now five participants in that delegation.  There is space for up to 10 to participate. 

“Usually when we have visited the PROK, our partners have shown us social justice and other ministries, such as My Sister’s Place for women in the sex trade, plus early child education, the demilitarized zone and peace village near the border, a homeless shelter and PROK national offices,” said Ed.  “We also join in daily worship at churches.”

The PROK is proud to be a liberal progressive voice in South Korea, having broken from the Presbyterian Church of Korea over theology and biblical inerrancy in 1953, Ed said. 

The partnership with the PROK in East Seoul was established in 1993.  A delegation from the South Korea came in 1994, and a PNC delegation went in 1995.  The last delegation went in 2010.

Ed, who began serving on the Global Ministries Committee in 2005, has videos online of his experiences in 2010 and 2012 at

In 2012, Ed went for five weeks to help pastors enhance their English speaking skills.

“The power of partnerships is in the relationships I have formed.  I talk frequently with some friends on Skype,” he said, adding, “There is value to be exposed to people of faith in a different cultural setting.”

When Ed was preparing to return home, one pastor commented that Ed would likely forget his new friends.

“I promise I will not forget you,” he said.

As part of the English grammar lessons, Ed had pastors write about how they would take social justice to the pulpit or how they would talk of their desire to reunify.

“Most were interested in preaching the Gospel as they understand it, not in talking about what is wrong with the government,” he said.

Ed found that churches there average 100 members and they, like churches here, lament their decline and want to grow, so they are bringing guitar music into their worship.

Jim Spraker, who has also been involved in the German partnership, will join Ed and Jean Kim in Korea after he visits in Vietnam.

Others who will be part of the delegaion include Darrel Goodwin of Liberation UCC in Seattle and Andrew Conley-Holcomb of Admiral UCC in Seattle.

Ed said the visit in May is an opportunity to learn more about the struggles Korean sisters and brothers of faith confront on a daily basis and to learn about their life, ministry and outreach.

It is also an opportunity to learn what’s behind the call by Global Ministries of the UCC and DOC to continue to pray for peace and reconciliation in Korea—a nation that has been divided for more than 60 years.  While there may be discussion of reunification, there’s a divide among South Koreans on that.

At the last General Synod of the United Church of Christ, a resolution was passed calling for Peace, Justice and Reunification in the Korean Peninsula.

The Global Ministries area executive the Rev. Xiaoling Zhu wrote about the General Synod resolution at

Ed estimates that the cost will be around $1,200 roundtrip from Seattle to Seoul.  The flight will be the only cost for participants, because Korean hosts will provide home stay housing with Korean families, food and transportation.

For information, call 360-683-4704 or 360-670-1073, or email


Copyright © February 2016 - Pacific Northwest Conference News


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