Thursday, December 11, 2014

July 2000

"How very good & pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity."
(Psalm 133:1)

In July 2000 I was called to serve as pastor of Aiea UMC.  One of the main reasons the Bishop said I was a good fit for the appointment, was because of the relationship with Aiea Korean UMC.  To be honest, it was not a good one at that time.  AKUMC had been sharing space with Aiea UMC for close to 25 years at that point.  Two separate churches sharing one location.  Two separate congregations.  Two separate leadership teams.  Two separate budgets.  One parking area.  One facility.  As you might imagine, it made for some challenging relationships.

In July 2000, relations between the leaders of both congregations was "strained" to say the least.  Ill will was definitely flowing.  The Spirit of Christ was hard to find at times (mostly connected with the leadership of both churches).  I had served as a pastor at Christ UMC for 3 years (1994-1997).  CUMC Is a Korean-language church.  In fact, it was THE FIRST church for Koreans anywhere outside of the country of Korea, in any denomination!  It's a historic congregation in Korean spirituality.  I was the English-language pastor during my 3 years.  That experience helped me understand a bit about Korean church culture.  The Bishop & cabinet hoped that would help me at Aiea UMC.

Now, some 15 years later, I'm blessed to say that our two congregations are dwelling together in unity.  We still have challenges, frustrations & disappointments with space use, parking, calendering, etc.  But what "family" doesn't have a little bit of challenges, frustrations & disappointments?  By the grace of God, leaders from both congregations have worked hard to live together with grace, not judgment.  I'm grateful for this experience.  And hopeful for our future!

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