Saturday, June 30, 2012

BBQ with the Archbishop of Korea

Last evening my husband Steve and I welcomed some amazing people to our home for a BBQ: the Rev. Anna Olson, her husband Steve and daughters Lea and Naomi, the Rev. Ada Wong-Nagata and her husband Ronnie, the Rev. Joshua Ng and his wife Allison, the Rev. Peter Browning, the Rev. Barbara Stewart, Canon Robert Williams, Chris Tumilty, the Rev. John Kim, the Rev. Aidan Koh, the Rev. James Park (from Korea) and Archbishop Paul Kim of Korea. The purpose was to meet the Archbishop and to talk with him about ministry opportunities here in our diocese with the Korean community.

Among the most endearing moments of the evening was when the Archbishop was introduced to Peter Browning. When I introduced them, I said to the Archbishop, "Sir, this is the Rev. Peter Browning" -- the Archbishop looked at Peter, smiled deeply and said, "You look just like your father!" The picture here captures that exact moment! Peter smiled in return and with a big smile on his face responded, "I am actually better looking" -- that made them both laugh!

Ada and Joshua were with me in Korea when we were hosted there by the Archbishop, so they came to see their new friend again. When people started to go out to our backyard, Ada and the Archbishop had the opportunity to share a few moments together. Here is a picture of them -- so typical of Ada! The discussion among the participants was lively! Barbara Stewart was there as a member of the Program Group on World Missions. I invited Peter Browning and Anna Olson because they have an interest in potentially starting a service in Korean in their congregations. Chris Tumilty and Bob Williams came to help with any news coverage -- and Chris began the filming of a Just Action video on the Archbishop's visit -- he will be celebrating the Eucharist and preaching at the Cathedral Center tomorrow (July 1st) at 1:00 for a service with all the Korean congregations coming together to hear him. John Kim and Aidan Koh came as they travel with the Archbishop when he is here. James Park is accompanying the Archbishop on this trip from Korea as he is the Provincial Secretary for that Province.

After dinner, with Aidan acting as interpreter, the Archbishop answered questions from the group. A great connection was made through the Archbishop for Barbara Stewart to the GFS group in Seoul (which I visited when I was in Korea in 2011). Anna asked great questions about the needs of the various communities, and how we can best reach out to Koreans here. We also talked about the continuation of the Diocese of Seoul sending clergy over to the CPE program at Good Samaritan Hospital -- that will continue. The clergy will go to selected parishes as part of the experience and lead Bible studies.

It was a relaxed evening, yet it was one in which mission and ministry was discussed and new friendships were forged. Among the most wonderful moments was when Lea, Anna's daughter spent time with the Archbishop and the Korean clergy -- she can understand and speak Korean as she is in a bilingual school in Koreatown! The Archbishop was MORE than impressed. All the Korean clergy were raving about Lea. It was wonderful!

I wonder what the Archbishop will find the next time he wanders back to Southern California? Certainly I'll be ready with another BBQ!

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Dream Come True

It happened last night in Koreatown. Members of the Diocesan staff and some clergy, the CEO of Good Samaritan Hospital, the Pastoral Care team at the hospital, and the Archbishop of Korea all sat down for a meal.

Why was this group together at a restaurant last night in Koreatown?This group came together as a result of a breakfast at the Hospital last year. The Reverends Jerry Anderson and Ron David invited me to breakfast. We met first with Susan Harlow, their boss. Over breakfast I asked them ,"What demographic do you have problems serving?" They told me that at any given time up to 30% of the hospital patients are non-English speaking Koreans. As I had just come from Korea where the Archbishop asked me to help him find a 3 to 6 month opportunity for his clergy to experience the American Church, the bells went off in my head.

In January of this year a priest and a seminarian came over for the six month Clinical Pastoral Education program at Good Samaritan. It was a match made in heaven.

During dinner, the CEO of the hospital and the Archbishop hit it off and quickly discovered they shared similar dreams of mission opportunities. Their faces lit up like Christmas trees as they spoke together. Listening to their conversation was like watching two long lost brothers meet and realize their lives were on parallel tracks. The Spirit was moving very quickly in the room!

I give thanks that I was able to pull this group together, but I give even greater thanks to the hospital, the Diocese of Seoul for embracing the original idea, the clergy in this diocese who embraced the women and made them feel that they are part of our diocese, and of course the two women who were the ambassadors for this project from Korea. Most importantly, I am in awe of the Spirit and her wisdom. For me, it was a dream come true.

I wonder what will happen the next time these two men come together and talk?

Location:Los Angeles