Two weeks earlier, June 10-11, the Southern Baptist Convention will hold its annual meeting at the Baltimore Convention Center.
"Two years ago we met in Baltimore," said Chongoh Aum, executive director of what is known informally as the Korean Council, the nearly 900-church fellowship group of Southern Baptist Korean churches in North, Central and South America. "We could not do that again so soon."
The Korean Council meetings routinely draw 800 or more attendees. Korean churches in the area provide an eight-course meal of traditional Korean food three times a day for the four-day event. To ask the same people to prepare that amount of food two years after they last did so would not be proper, Aum said.
This year, the dozen or more Korean churches in the northern Virginia area will provide Korean fare such as bulgogi (thinly sliced or shredded beef marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, sugar and scallions).
One benefit of meeting after the SBC annual meeting is that Koreans will be able to participate in both gatherings, and perhaps for some, take a week's vacation in Washington, D.C., to visit the nation's capital, said Aum, who was elected to his second four-year term as executive director at last year's annual meeting.
"Korean Baptist pastors are brothers with Southern Baptist pastors," Aum said. "It is so difficult to support missionaries alone, so Korean pastors make association with all Southern Baptists for education and fellowship, and strengthen each other."
In its business sessions, Korean Council President Junsuk "Peter" Hwan, pastor of First Korean Baptist Church in Philadelphia, will be voted on for re-election to a second term, while continued discussion is expected on the doctrinal purity or heresy of Intercorp, a Korean missions organization aiming to expand to the United States.
The Korean Council of Southern Baptist Churches in America is organized similarly to the SBC, with domestic and foreign mission boards, an education board, Woman's Missionary Union and Brotherhood. The entities are expected to report at the June meeting on their activities over the last year.
No special celebration is to be made of the 35th anniversary of the Korean Council, Aum said. The Southern Baptist fellowship group was organized in 1981, 30 years after the first Korean Southern Baptist church in America was started in Washington, D.C. It later cancelled its affiliation with the SBC -- today no Korean SBC church remains in D.C. -- and Berendo Street Baptist Church in Los Angeles is considered to be the "mother church" for the nearly 900 Korean Southern Baptist churches now located in 40 states across the U.S.
Of greater significance than its history -- important as that is, Aum said -- is what God is doing today as Korean churches find ways to balance two cultures to minister to those born in Korea and in the United States.
Toward that end, Jey Kim, pastor of First Virginia Korean Baptist Church in Springfield, Va., again this year will lead a high-energy youth rally for teens during the Korean Council's annual meeting. It also is slated for the Hilton Washington Dulles, 13869 Park Center Road in Herndon, Va.
"We look forward to fellowship with Koreans from across the United States, Canada, South America and Korea," Aum said. "We will be refreshed and renewed for what God has for us to do to bring Him glory."
Karen L. Willoughby is a national correspondent for Baptist Press.
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