Relaymedia

Future Korean church leaders to be trained at Wesley Institute, Sydney

( [email protected] ) Mar 31, 2004 03:34 AM EST

A historic agreement between the Korean-Australian Presbyterian Church and

Wesley Institute, Sydney, will result in the training of Korean ministers

for full-time ministry.

In a service of dedication in Wesley Mission's Sunday Night Live worship

service on March 21, representatives of Wesley Institute and the

Korean-Australian Presbyterian Church signed a concordant which ratified

Wesley Institute's Korean Theological Program as the official provider of

theological education and training to the Church.

Rev Kee Wan Kim, the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Korea, the

Principal of Wesley Institute Dr David Johnston and the Rev Dr Kye Won Lee,

head of the Korean Theology Department at Wesley Institute signed the

agreement in front of almost 800 people.

The Rev Dr Kye Won Lee, head of the Korean Theology Department at Wesley

Institute began teaching the KTP curriculum to 20 students in 2002. Today

more than 80 students are studying at the Drummoyne campus.

The recent dedication service was also a celebration of the partnership

between the Korean-Australian Presbyterian Church and Wesley Institute.

Principal of Wesley Institute Dr David Johnston said the Korean program had

its beginnings in 2001 when the Rev Dr Kye Won Lee was appointed to teach

systematic theology.

"We were teaching other subjects to Korean students long before then but we

believed that we needed courses taught in Korean," he said.

"We identified early that Rev Dr Kye Won Lee was very capable and that he

had a vision to start a theological course in the Korean language."

The Korean Theological Program teaches subjects such as Systematic Theology,

Old Testament and New Testament methodologies, Hermeneutics, Greek, Hebrew,

Urban Mission and Migration Theology.

"We kept knocking down doors and finally got the course accredited through

the Sydney College of Divinity," Dr Johnston said.

"Through Dr Lee's network and through the Korean Church in Sydney he made

the proposal to the Presbyterian Church of Korea. The plan was passed by the

Presbyterian Church of Korea, then Wesley Institute Council and then Wesley

Mission.

"This is a wonderful partnership: students will be recognised for their

training not only in Australia but throughout the world.

"Theology is and must be church-oriented. This means that theology without

church is meaningless, church without theology is empty; as theory and

experience go together, so do theology and church. I always say that we do

not produce Humpty Dumpty's at Wesley Institute - those who have big heads

full of knowledge with small limbs unable to do anything for the church and

God's Kingdom.

"I was glad to see the great fruit of Rev Dr Lee's endeavour to pursue this

kind of organic relationships between theological college and church.

"I have heard that there are more than 200 Korean immigrant churches in

Sydney. This fact clearly shows not only the spiritual zeal of Korean

brothers and sisters, but also the maturity of Korean Christians in Sydney.

"Out of this spiritual maturity, I believe that the Korean-Australian

Presbyterian Church came into being three years ago in order to realise the

Kingdom of God in this multi-cultural land."

Dr Moyes said the scholarship in Korean seminaries was impacting on the

Western world with a new Christian congregation beginning within Korea every

four hours.

"Church bells call believers to prayer in Korea's 18,000 Protestant and

Evangelical churches every morning at 5am. Over 2,000 churches are in Seoul

alone," he said.

"Years ago, I raised money to support poor Korean students in the Seoul

Theological Seminary. Now it is a University with thousands of students. I

used to be on the International Board of the Korean Institute for Mission

and Church Renewal International of the Choog Hyun Presbyterian Church.

"I know the ministries of Young Nak Presbyterian Church and Yoido Full

Gospel Church with more than half a million members. The world largest

Methodist Church is the Kwang Lim Methodist Church - in fact five of the

largest churches in the world are in Seoul."

In 1980 approximately 200 Korean missionaries worked in 29 countries. By the

beginning of 1990 the number had grown to over 1,600 missionaries working

for 54 Korean mission agencies in 87 countries.

"By 2000, the Church in Asia has sent approximately 80,000 missionaries

through 650 mission agencies to other countries," he said. "The spread of

Korean ministers influences the world."