Monday, April 30, 2012

Day in Seoul on the way to Taipei

Woke up this morning and repacked my suitcase. I had breakfast with Abp. Kim, our guide Thomas from yesterday's adventure, Ada and Joshua. It was a wonderful Korean breakfast -- an abalone porridge for them, a non-shell fish porridge for me. I talked with the Abp. about our Korean ministry in the Diocese of Los Angeles, and about opportunities we share together. We also spoke about the churches in Korea, especially the fact that every 3-5 years the priests are moved among the parishes and missions by the Bishop. Our host for the afternoon The Rev. Paul Goh, who is married to the Rev. Kyrie Kim, has been a priest for 25 years and has served in 8 different churches. I also spoke with the Abp. about the challenges facing the various provinces in Asia. It was a deep, good conversation. I have learned so much on this trip, and feel so grateful for the incredible hospitality shown to us.

Ada, Joshua and I took a walk along the same path I went yesterday, and saw the following, which I did not post yesterday:

Joshua and Ada commented that with them dressed all in black, they look like my bodyguards. We took the appropriate photo to signify their potential new role:

We met with part of the Archbishop's staff. They asked questions about the two women who are with us from Korea. I told them how pleased we have been with them and their commitment to the Church. They were very pleased. They also asked me about the strengthens of the Diocese of Los Angeles. I talked to them about various mission and ministry happenings in the Diocese, especially the Multicultural ministry going on right now. Here are some photos of our talk together, and of Abp. Kim presenting us with some gifts, with a "group shot" taken at the end.

We then headed out to St. Michael's Church in Incheon, where we met Kyrie's husband Paul. Paul moved to be Vicar there in mid January. Kyrie also changed jobs, but still works in Seoul. Kyrie and their daughter live in Seoul during the week with Kyrie's parents, and they go home on the weekends.

St. Michael's in Incheon was founded by the first Bishop of Korea, who was from England. He is buried in the Cathedral in Seoul, and is the only person buried within the city limits of Seoul.

At this location in Incheon the founding Bishop also opened a hospital, which is next door to the Church. The church currently houses a social service center which feeds 150 seniors per day, has supplemental class offerings and assistance for children with disabilities, and a homework center for junior high and high school students. Here are a few pictures:

Play room:

Art room:

A yoga and exercise room for the disabled children:

The church is interesting in that it is one of the oldest, but had to be rebuilt due to a fire. The celebrant's chair was actually designed by the current Vicar (Paul Goh) when he was a seminarian. He designed it for his friend which was the Vicar at that time, more than 25 years ago! Also, there are two bibles displayed, one which was hand written by one member of the parish over a two year period, the other which each member wrote one page of and was bound together. Here are some photos:

Founding bishop:

You have to remove your shoes to enter the church.

Here's the presider's chair the current vicar designed when he was a seminarian:

This bible was written out by hand by one woman over a two year period.

This is the bible the entire congregation worked on:

We had lunch together with the clergy and the Junior Warden, and headed out to the airport for the final stop on our journey: Taipei!

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day in Seoul

Woke up early and took a 45 minute walk along my favorite route--just past the Small Palace, turn right and go down along embassy row and past the Franciscan Friary.

Came back and had breakfast with Rev. Towers, the Vicar of the English speaking congregation, with 17 countries represented there each Sunday. Rev. Towers and I were surprised by the number of people we know in common, including the Rev. Cn. Victoria Heard in the Diocese of Dallas. He worked at Seabury for a while, so lots of connections there as well. I was so pleased that our paths crossed this day.

I preached and celebrated, which was wonderful. Not my typical Bishop garb for a Sunday morning, but it worked.

Here is Rev. Towers with Us.

We also attended the Korean Service at 11:00, and found Sr. Catherine, who many of you may have seen pictures of in my Facebook albums from my trip last year to Seoul:

And I ran into Abp. Paul's wonderful secretary Edna:

It was Sr. Catherine's 5th Anniversary of her ordination to the Priesthood. She sat with us in a pew we were escorted to, and helped a bit with translations when needed. For the most part, we just listened. She did write a quick note about the sermon content and handed it to me.

There was a reserved sign there that Sr. Catherine told us meant the pew reserved for us.

The service was mostly sung, and sung very well. The choir was magnificent. While I didn't understand the words that were being said, it was very easy to feel the Spirit in the Cathedral. Absolutely a heart-warming, loved filled service! It just goes to prove once again what I have said so often: you don't need to understand another language to know someone's heart. When that heart is full of God's love, you can feel it and see it.

Here are some photos:

We then went to lunch with Edna, Sr. Catherine and Thomas, our guide for the afternoon. We went to a new restaurant located on the Cathedral Grounds that was established in conjunction with the Anglican Diocese of Seoul. One third (yes, that is right!) of the proceeds from the restaurant go to ministries working with the homeless in the Diocese. It is an important new ministry funding initiative in the Diocese of Seoul. Here I was just served ginseng chicken soup which comes literally bubbling hot to your table:

Here is a picture of Sr. Catherine and Thomas:

After lunch we walked with Thomas over to the Big Palace. Thomas was a skillful guide, explaining the history of Seoul and the Korean people. He talked about the Japanese occupations and the toll those occupations took on the country and the people. He talked about Korean ingenuity and modern Korea. Here are some photos of the Big Palace:

We then headed over to Insadong, another shopping area with some beautiful, traditional homes. We took a taxi over there from the Big Palace as my foot has been bothering me since we walked up the Great Wall in China a few days ago. When we got in the car the cab driver had on a radio station that was playing a song by the Eurythmics. I pointed to the radio and said "Eurythmics." he piped up with "Annie Lennox". He then told me in broken English that he remembered this from High School. I countered with "I was slightly older than that," and he smiled. Next the song DRIVE by the Cars came on. I smiled, he turned the radio up a bit, looked at me and said, "Drive". I started singing some of the lines which made him smile even more. Thomas asked him a question, and he responded with what seemed to be a pretty serious answer, judging by the driver's face. Thomas told us he always asks the cab drivers about the economy. They have a better handle on every day life in Korea than any statistic. Turns out the cab driver said the economy is still bad. He was a middle manager at a large company and was let go. He is driving a cab to make ends meet.

Here are some shots of and the wonderful tea house Thomas took us to:

And here is a description of the tea I drank:

We walked back to the Guest House, and on the way stopped at the headquarters of Buddhism in Seoul. Thomas explained "this is the 815 of Buddhism." They were preparing for the celebration of the Buddha's birthday:

We made it back to the Guest House in time to put our feet up a bit before we had to change our clothes and go off to a dinner with Archbishop Kim:

It was a wonderful, jam packed day.

I wonder if I will ever run into that cab driver again? Hopefully the economy will turn around for him and for so many others who are either underemployed or not employed at all. So similar our lives and problems are all over the world.

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Location:Seoul, South Korea