The colours of Korea

The colours of Korea - a new preaching stole

On Saturday I was at the meeting of the Yorkshire Synod to bring a greeting from the United Reformed Church to representatives of the Choongcheong Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK). They had brought presents which included preaching stoles in wonderful bright colours – the rainbow colours of Korea they told me.

 

The representatives were in this country to continue the process of establishing a partnership with the Yorkshire Synod, folk from Yorkshire had visitedKoreain January. Their observations were to note how different is the context for Christians in that country with many very large churches but also stories of many challenges, difficulties and great faith to recount. Here were four men from that country bravely sitting through the morning session of the Synod but with very limited English to enable them to fully understand what was happening.

Following the full Synod meeting a small group of us met together with them and discussed the way forward, trying to identify what each could bring and what each hoped to get from such a partnership. On the face of it trying to form a partnership with people from the other side of the world and with no common language might seem somewhat foolhardy but as the meeting progressed it was clear that there were the beginnings of a fruitful partnership. The conversation edged towards some greater understanding and I think we all learned that sharing thoughts, ideas and understandings is never a waste of time. This is a partnership which, if it is to succeed, needs to develop slowly but there is clearly much for each of us to learn. The world of 21st century communication and distance present different challenges from earlier times but also many possibilities for closer co-operation through all the means of modern technology which we could employ.

Talk is of establishing a partnership based on our common understanding of the church and mission so that the world will understand the love of God in Jesus Christ – it seems to me that the hope behind that statement is the same in any language.

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