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Tribute to Ki Soo Jang

Tribute to Ki Soo Jang
Ki Soo Jang

Ki Soo Jang

On 21 August, 2014, during the Korean Presbytery meeting which was held at the Korean Community Uniting Church Lindfield, the 10 years of service of Ki Soo Jang was recognised as the secretary of the Korean Commission and Presbytery.

Ki Soo has been an essential part of the Korean Commission from its inception and later the Korean Presbytery. His enthusiasm and passion for migrant Koreans and the church is commendable and have made him a loved friend of many. Although his time has concluded as the secretary of the Korean Presbytery, his passion has not. Many of the people he has worked with have been positively affected by this passion and in return encourage him. A word of encouragement, in Korean, to Ki Soo from his friends in the Korean Presbytery to continue his ministry with the Koreans and the Uniting Church in general

장기수목사님을 빼 놓고서는 호주 연합교단안에 있는 모든 한인교회를 이야기 할 수 없을 것입니다. 그 만큼 장기수목사님의 사역은 한인교회들의 역사와 함께 한다고 할 수 있습니다. 한인교회들이 연합교단과 함께 하나님 나라를 위해서 동역해 갈 때 역사적인 순간엔 늘 장기수목사님의 수고와 헌신이 있었음을 우린 부인 할 수 없을 것입니다. 물론 장기수목사님의 혼자만의 일은 아니었습니다. 그러나 분명한 것은 한인공동체와 호주연합교단의 중간자 역할에서 어느 한쪽으로 치우치지 않고 균형을 맞춰가며 양쪽을 모두 아우르는 은사는 장기수목사님이 총무로서 역할을 잘 감당해 나갈 수 있도록 하나님이 특별히 주신 선물이었습니다. 때로는 열정적으로 때로는 기다림으로 그의 리더쉽을 유감없이 발휘 해 주셨습니다.

아쉽게도 지난 2014년 8월 21일 한인노회에서 장기수 목사님의 사역을 마무리 하는 순서가 있었습니다. 이 순서를 통해서 함께 동역했던 많은 사역자의 감사의 표시와 앞으로 새롭게 시작되는 장기수 목사님의 사역을 위해 사랑으로 기도 하는 시간을 가졌습니다. 장기수목사님 또한, 10년을 되돌아 보면서 자신의 사역을 정성껏 도와 주신 분들의 이름을 한분 한분 불러가며 진심어린 감사의 인사를 하셨습니다. 그리고 앞으로 한인노회가 호주 연합교단안에서 함께 동역하고 서로의 은사를 나누고 배우며 호주 땅에 하나님 나라를 아름답게 건설해 나가길 바란다는 당부의 말씀도 잊지 않으셨습니다.

마지막으로 한인노회는 장기수목사님의 가족과 사역위에 하나님의 은혜가 함께 하는 마음으로 한 마음으로 기도하였습니다.

During the meeting, The Rev. Dr. Clive Pearson was invited to give an address commemorating the 10 year service of Ki Soo. The following is his address.

I want to pay tribute to Ki Soo this evening. It is a great honour to be asked to do so. I want to honour him but I am going to come at that task in a roundabout way. Let me do so by first talking about Myong Duk Yang and you will soon understand why I am taking this detour. Over and extended period of time Myong has been writing up the history of the Korean migration and the rise of Korean church in this country. I have on my computer his latest effort which is about the formation of this presbytery. When Myong first began we were talking about 30 years of Korean history in this country, in this church. And gradually the timeline was extended as he discovered more and more links. It is an important task to write up such histories. Such work conveys a story and helps tell us who we are, why we are here, and what we take with us into the future.

Once upon a time I was an historian. One of the things which struck me was how often people invoked the future historian – the on who is not with us yet – to look back on their own time; they call upon the future historian to tell their story and interpret what was going on in the midst of so much upheaval. When Yong Min Suh asked me to speak this evening I wondered what I would say about Ki Soo – and then I thought of the future historian. What would they say about him? How would they tell the story of his ministry? How would they interpret the role he has played in your midst and in the life of the Uniting Church as a whole.

For let us be under no illusions. In 50 years time, in 100 years time, Ki Soo will be remembered in the history of the Uniting Church. And for good reason. His ministry as the secretary of the Korean Presbytery may be closed, but the fact of the matter is that the existence of this presbytery was unthinkable without his leadership and contribution. I hope he will be acknowledged for such at the forthcoming Synod, for if he is not, then something is not right – and the future historian will notice that.

I can’t quite remember when I first met Ki Soo. I think he was engaged in some study at the time. But I really got to know him when the case for the Korean Commission was being mounted. These kinds of entities or bodies do not simply come out of nowhere; they require vision, imagination, a fair amount of diplomatic skill and resolve and a great deal of hard work. There was a group of course – Ki Soo did not work alone, but as the Commission was gradually transformed into the Presbytery, I was able to watch him at work and discern something of his vision. I watched him resist the advice of some in leadership positions in the synod who wanted the formation of the presbytery to be put on hold. Ki Soo held firm. It was right that he should.

Yes, he worked tirelessly for the Commission and the Presbytery; the mere setting of these councils of the church required specific tasks to be done in order to secure agreement; and, yes, there would then be the work of making sure agendas were got out and minutes released and that the commission and presbytery were organised.

That future historian I spoke about though would notice something else. That historian would take a step back from the immediacy of those kind of events and try to tap into Ki Soo’s heart. There are two abiding memories for me – there are more than 2 really – but two stand out. The first was Ki Soo’s commitment to the Uniting Church and his firm conviction that the Korean ministers, congregations, commission and presbytery would benefit from understanding better the system of the UCA. It is in a great state of flux at the present and there is much confusion. Ki Soo recognized the need to know the existing polity of the church: he knew that the way in which this church is organised differs in a number of important respects from the churches back in Korea. And so he was keen for you and your people to know about the Basis of Union, the regulations, the manual for meeting.

In those first few years I used to tell people that I knew of no presbytery which sought to understand and practice he polity of the church as much as the Korean Presbytery did. Your resources may have been more limited than many others, but you captured well the ethos of the Basis of Union and the vision which lay behind it. I remember Harry Herbert saying something the same after he once came to one of your meetings.

The second thing which stands out was the way in which Ki Soo was looking ahead. I remember a number of meetings where he met with me and others at the college. We had been trying to get up and running a BTh in Korean. Ki Soo had been in on that right from the beginning; the day the Synod agreed to the College becoming a partner in the School of Theology Ki Soo hung back and approached the Deputy Vice Chancellor and enquired as to the possibility of a university-based degree. That has not eventuated despite no lack of effort. Why I mentioned it here is that because this initiative on his part was part of Ki Soo’s vision.

I remember him looking ahead 10 years. He was wanting to find a way ahead for the Korean congregation and ministers who come after him. He wanted to see a younger generation and women included in the workings of the Korean church; he wanted to nurture their leadership; he wanted to come to terms with the suspicion that Korean ministers and congregations have often held theological colleges in; he wanted the churches served by the Presbytery to think of having their ministers in the future come from those who were trained in Australia; Ki Soo wanted the Korean church to maintain its connections with the homeland but at the same time also feel that it belonged in a new home in this country.

Ki Soo was tieless in this effort; he served on synod standing committee and on the Assembly Standing Committee. He has served on numerous committee, including the Assembly reference committee for multi/cross cultural ministry – where time and time again he explained the nature and purpose of this presbytery to other cultural communities. In these roles he has been highly regarded and esteemed.

Over the years Ki Soo and I have had a number of teas and coffees together. The more I have spoken to him on a one on one basis I have come to realise that he is one of the most perceptive ministers in the synod; he reads extraordinarily well the power plays, the politics, of the wider church in which this presbytery has found itself. He knows when things are right; he knows when things are not right; That is a hidden task and gift, It is one of both experience and wisdom .. and you have benefitted from that, as indeed so have I.

Let me finish. I have no doubt that a future Myong Duk Yang, a future historian, will write of Ki Soo Jang when the history of the UCA, when the history of the Korean church in this country is written up. It is also possible that sociologists of religions will do so as well for he has played a critical role in what is called the ‘settlement’ period of a migrant church in a new land. And let me conclude by saying that this kind of work is only possible if you have the support and encouragement of others around you – obviously your family but also sometimes the otherwise hidden contribution of people like Stella Kim who has been translating for the commission and presbytery now for the past 10 years. Thank you for giving me a voice Stella.

Thank you Ki Soo. Your gift to the Presbytery, to the Synod, to the uniting Church has been great. We honour you.

Clive Pearson