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A Multi-Cultural Congregation in Mechanicsburg

. 3 min read

A new multi-cultural
congregation is emerging in
our midst. Wesley United
Methodist Church in Mechanicsburg
has Korean, English, and combined
worship services. It’s Wesley’s way
of creating community with its
Korean brothers and sisters.

The services came into existence
through the leadership direction of
Rev. Ho Kang, pastor of Wesley
UMC. Kang started his appointment
at Wesley in July 2016. A group
of Korean worshippers followed
Kang when he was appointed to
Wesley, and they are all interested in
becoming members.

Wesley holds separate weekly
worship services in English at 9:30
a.m. and Korean at 11 a.m., and a
joint Korean/English service on the
first Sunday of each month at 10
a.m., followed by a luncheon. The
fellowship time after the joint service
is the opportunity to eat food together
and share the fellowship of love. “It
is like a festival,” said Kang.

On May 7, 2017, Harrisburg District
Superintendent Rev. Barry Robison
was invited to preach at the monthly
combined Korean/English service.
His sermon title was Starting Over. “He [Robison] told us Wesley is
being presented with an opportunity
to be born again, or born anew,” said
Kang. “We have the chance to start
over in the way we fulfill our purpose
to make disciples of Jesus Christ
for the transformation of the world.
Everything is a new beginning.”

“Though different in language,
culture, and race, it was a gracious
worship service that enabled the
congregation to know that they are all
one in Christ Jesus. The congregation
was impressed by the sermon of the
superintendent.”

Currently there are between 15-20
Koreans attending Wesley. “Beautiful
church building and sanctuary. The
atmosphere of worship was godly
and good, and we were convinced
that God is with us in worship,”
replied Sun Hee Chon about why
the decision to come to Wesley. Suki
Gelbaugh stated, “The people of
Wesley UMC warmly welcomed us,
and we thought that it was God’s will that we move to Wesley. We believe
in the leadership of Pastor Ho.”

When asked about how the existing
members are receiving and reaching
out to the Korean folks, Kang
responded, “In Christ we are brothers
and sisters. Everyone welcomed
them, and through this opportunity
all the existing members are firm
believers that the church will be
restored, revived, and renewed.”

“We have been members of Wesley
Church for over 40 years. Having
our brothers and sisters from Hope
Korean Church has been a light in
our church. They brighten our day
with their smiles and hugs, or a
hand shake. God has certainly given
Wesley a great future going forward
with our Korean brothers and
sisters,” said Lyn Yung, Hospitality
Committee Chair, and Leo Yung.

“The Koreans are a welcome
addition to Wesley UMC, as was
Pastor Ho last year. All members are
now learning to share new languages,
cultures, traditions, and foods.
The combined monthly worship
service and luncheon welcomes all
members,” commented Cheryl Hoke,
adult fellowship chairperson. “The
main point of this union is that we
are all Christians and all Methodists.”

“As an active 45-year member of
Wesley UMC, I am happy to have
our Korean brothers and sisters join
us in worship,” said Evelyn Ulery,
Worship Chairperson. “The time of
fellowship after the combined service
gives us an opportunity to become
better acquainted. The response to
our congregational picture (above)
indicates to me that we truly are
united. Pastor Ho has been a blessing
to us.”

Kang has high hopes for the
rejuvenation of Wesley UMC. “God
gave us something totally new
and different,” said Kang. “The
motivation to start over is the hope
that this new thing will be better than
the current. We are confident that,
when all of us connect more with
God and with each other, there will
be mounting excitement about the
results such an effort might produce
for this new congregation, not only to
survive but to become very effective
in making disciples of Jesus Christ.”

“We have two worship services,
but we are one church, one pastor,
one God. Not two churches,” stated
Kang.

From The Suquehanna LINK, September 2017