Sunday, October 4, 2015

Seoul -- Day Seven -- last full day.

Got up early and went for breakfast. Sister Catherine Oh met us a little before 10:00 to go over with us to St. Bede's church. Justin, a member of the church, drove us over. We were greeted warmly by the Vicar of the congregation. It is in a church that doesn't look like a church from the outside unless you look up and see the stained glass windows.

I've discovered that many of the priests are sons of priests or have brothers or sisters who are priests. The wife of the Vicar of this church is also the daughter of priest and her brother is a priest. Wow.

I love the way our Korean Brothers and Sisters celebrate the Eucharist. It is very Anglo Catholic in feel, with a great deal of chanting. This church was no exception. The priest chanted beautifully, and the choir (which was large!) was magnificent. 

Sister Catherine translated for me -- she was wonderful as always. I started out speaking about the fact that the sadducees and the pharisees were always trying to "trip up" Jesus -- today's gospel was no exception. I then spoke about the reconciliation cross we were given yesterday and the work between the Province of Korea and the Province of Japan. I spoke about the fact that there are those who would like to "trip up" this process of reconciliation. I also talked about St. Mary's Mariposa and the reconcilitation event we had there in July. I talked about the mission and ministry work of the Province of Seoul. It is an amazing amount of work that gets done in the name of Jesus Christ. 

We had lunch with the Vicar, Sister Catherine and 2 lay leaders (one is a young doctor -- there are many doctors and medical students in the congregation). It was lovely -- noodle soup, sandwiches, fresh fruit and  sushi. We talked about mission and ministry in the context of our work. We also talked about social service agency work. The warden of the church handed me an envelope to thank me for being there -- and I told him I couldn't accept it. He insisted. I subsequently (later on) gave the envelope to Sister Catherine for her work in mission and ministry at the convent -- she is doing amazing work there, and is such a blessing to the church. She attended the last two Lambeth conferences as a translator and a spiritual director. When we meet her you know that she is very holy -- but VERY sweet and funny at the same time. A wonderful combination.

The Vicar called over to the Seoul Station homeless ministry and arranged for us (at the last minute!) to meet with the priest in charge of the ministry -- Fr. Luke. Fr. Luke spent time talking with us about his ministry at the center and the other outlets. Everything from medical and dental clinics to mental health
to job training to free dinners to transitioning to rental living. Most of the people they deal with are homeless men, who have alcohol or gambling problems. They have counselling for them. One of the great things that Steve picked up on (me too!) was the bike shop -- they train the men to work in the
bike repair/rebuild shop, which teaches them skills and puts them in the workplace in an interesting way -- there was a magazine article that Fr. Luke was featured in where the bike shop made furniture out of the recycled bike parts -- so creative! Steve wants to work with the men the next time he comes -- lots to learn, and lots of great models of mission and ministry.

We headed back to the hotel -- which was not as easy as it normally would be given the fact that the roads were closed due to the big Hi Seoul festival that was going on. It was difficult when they came to get us, and it was even harder getting back! The driver (a member of the parish who had lived in Rancho Palos Verdes for a long time, had to drop us off in front of the Dunkin Donuts across the street -- no way to get in! So, all was well.

My 4:00 meeting was cancelled, so Steve and I took advantage of the short break to head out to find the ice cream (milk ice cream) that Allen Shin told us about at Paul Bassett. Okay, not on my diet, but really great! We also came across a reinactment of the killing of the queen by the Japanese Imperial Army -- and the fall of the King -- acted out by actors on the street in costume, including the Japanese Imperial army. Okay -- I was glad that I ran into one of the Anglican Priests who had to explain this to me -- I didn't understand what I was looking at/watching. He explained, and it made me so sad to watch. I didn't take pictures -- it just didn't feel right to me.

We headed for a cup of coffee -- one last time -- at Cafe Grace -- an imaginative ministry of the
Diocese of Seoul for North Korean women who have come over -- they are trained as baristas. It is a great ministry, and great coffee! We ran into Sister Catherine and her friend. Her friend insisted on buying our coffee -- so sweet!

We also ran into Francis and Agatha Choi, Anna Olson -- and the babies! It was great to see them again (we also saw them yesterday). They are doing well, but we do miss them.

We went back to the hotel in time for my 5:00 appointment, which went well. 

6:00 we were in the Plaza Hotel ballroom for dinner with the Mayor of Seoul -- he hosted all of the EAM  members and the special 125th anniversary guests. What a lovely closing dinner! Here are pictures from the ending dinner -- including our LA group picture (I got up and called for the people of Los Angeles to get up and have our picture taken -- and that triggered an avalanche of picture taking by other groups -- but LA - -the LARGEST group, was first. You can't see me, but I'm smiling right now.

So....ending our time in South Korea -- until next time!

And and Stephen Yoo.

The Mayor of Seoul

The Archbishop of Korea

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