Thursday, October 1, 2015

Seoul Day Four

It rained hard as we were waking up -- the streets were already soaked -- and the sky was dark with clouds. Glad I brought my water proof walking shoes!

We entered the Cathedral through a welcome group of Korean Drummers. The day began with a Eucharist -- the Presiding Bishop presided, Fred Vergara preached. The Mother's Union served as our choir (BEAUTIFUL voices!). It was a great start to our day. Our own Peter Huang read the gospel in
Mandarin. It was moving for me to be back in the Cathedral in Seoul, sitting in the nave, looking up at the beautiful chancel with friends and colleagues sitting together. It was a kaleidoscope of faces -- most of whom I know, gathered together in a different part of the world to hear the word of God, to celebrate as a part of Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry, and to help with the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Anglican Church in Korea. Today the focus was on EAM primarily -- the time for the celebration fully of the 125th anniversary of the Church of Korea will be Saturday.

The Most Rev. Nathaniel Uematsu began the keynote address with part of his story of reconciliation. While I have heard most of it before, I never get tired of hearing it -- of being reminded, as he so aptly put it, "Admitting our own guilt and sin is the hardest thing. But only when we've done this can we go forward and experience the blessing of reconciliation." He spoke about the work between the Anglican Church of Japan and the Anglican Church of Korea. He spoke of silence in the face of injustice. He offered a picture of the history of his church, and shared his own experiences in dealing with that history and the history of his country. It was moving and important for the EAM members to hear sitting in that Cathedral in Seoul. 

Bishop Allen Shin, Suffragan in New York then spoke about the history of Asian Ministry in The Episcopal Church -- dating back over 100 years. Our own St. Mary's Mariposa was spoken about in this context, and the history of Asians in America. Demographic information was offered as well -- we know, for instance, in the Diocese of Los Angeles the fastest growing demographic is in the Asian community. Among the most profound and moving statements Allen made regarding reconciliation was this: "The heart of reconciliation is honoring the dignity of difference." Indeed, it is!

Various workshops were offered in the afternoon -- everything from General Convention Highlights and Updates, Episcopal Church in the Philippines -- Asset Based Mission and Community Development,  Mission Enterprise Zone, Social Media: Evangelism in a Digital World, Social Ministries in Korea, Racial Reconiliation, and last but not least Meditation and Healing Korean Style. I made the decision To attend the Meditation Korean Style and the Racial Reconciliation workshop. 
The Rev. Sr. Catherine Oh offered the workshop on Meditation Korean Style, and it was a pleasure and honor to attend that with her. We meditated on scripture together, taken 10 minutes to sit and silence and respond inwardly to the scripture that had been read to us twice through. It was the fastest 10 minutes I've spent in a long time! We were then asked to talk to the person next to us about what we experienced during our meditation -- it was profound. Two forms of meditative dance were then taught to the participants -- the Elm dance and one other. Beautiful!

Heidi Kim from The Episcopal Church then offered the workshop on Racial Reconciliation. As always, she was on point and to the point with talking about racism and the way it is or is not dealt with. She summarized the work offered in the opening keynote addresses and knit her work in this area together with the earlier addresses beautifully. She pulled out the two quotes from each of the keynoters that I quoted above -- indeed they were the same quotes that struck me as they struck her. We still have so much work to do as a church with regards to racial reconciliation -- much work to be done. 

Dinner followed this last workshop -- a lovely dinner indeed! I didn't take a picture of it because, well, I forgot to. 

The Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls offered a very different kind of reflection that what he was asked to. This was his first time back in Korea in 28 years -- it was 28 years ago that he traveled to Seoul to pick up his adopted son Matthew, who was 4 months old. He told of the beauty of seeing Matthew for the first time. He spoke about the ordeal in getting him home, by himself (his wife Ginger was home with their son Andrew who was also adopted from Korea). He spoke about learning about racism dealing with his own children and their reality as Asians -- everything from not being able to join a local cub scout troop to being assumed to be smart at math because they are Asian. It was a particularly moving story and he had me in tears. 

Next was "open mike" -- questions for the bishops. Then the bishops were given the opportunity to ask questions back to the group. It was a great discussion of various topics.

It's going to be another long day tomorrow -- I wonder what new insights I'll gain? Can't wait!

No comments:

Post a Comment