Sunday, September 27 was a remarkable day for Lighthouse Korean United Methodist Church, as it welcomed more than 330 people to its grand opening worship celebration.
With the opening of Lighthouse Korean, the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference now has five Korean ethnic churches. Lighthouse Korean is one of four new church starts for 2009. According to its pastor, Rev. Byung Woo Cho, the Glenside area is ideal for opening a new church to minister with the growing Korean population. He and his wife, EunMi, recently moved to eastern Pennsylvania from New York, and he began his new appointment on July 1.
Lighthouse Korean UMC is located at Lighthouse Fellowship UMC in Glenside, PA. According to Rev. Cindy Brubaker, pastor of Lighhouse Fellowship, “Partnership is what we are working toward. We are stepping across comfort and language lines to help and be present praying for one another. Often there is a feeling of ‘us and them’ in this kind of arrangement – we’re working toward being ‘we’ – that we really are only one body. We’ve been intentional about that all along.”
During the opening worship service, Bishop Peggy Johnson said, “We still struggle and draw lines of race, gender, and class. I hope that everyone will be welcomed in your new church: people of all races, all languages, the rich ones, the poor ones, the ones you like, and the ones you don’t like, and people with disabilities.” She added, “In all things trust in God to provide, be content in the things God will be giving you, and you know God will see you through. I thank God for your ministry to the Lord and for this wonderful new beginning!”
Rev. Irving Cotto, director of Congregational Development for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, included in his message, “It is encouraging to know that our Annual Conference and the National Plan for Korean American Ministries are committed to a ministry with and for the Korean community in the Philadelphia area.” He said, “We are all called to make our part in living out God’s vision of unity, mutuality, inclusivity, and reconciliation. At the same time, the vision for a multicultural church includes recognition that there is urgent need to provide along the journey places and spaces where people with language needs, immigration needs, and particular cultural needs are given special attention.”
The executive director of the United Methodist Council on Korean American Ministries of the General Board of Global Ministries, Rev. Dr. Paul Chang, stressed the connectional nature of the church, saying, “Connectional means we are not alone. The annual conference, the National Plan, and the whole Korean community are with you, and more important, God is with you.”
The worship celebration included music from the Women’s Ensemble of Delaware First UMC, the choir of First Korean UMC of Cherry Hill, a men’s ensemble, and soloists Jang Gi Baek and Bar. Park Joseph.