Seoul, South Korea – A new conference of Anabaptist congregations has emerged in South Korea.
The Korea Anabaptist Fellowship (KAF), formed in 2010, became an official conference of eight congregations and an associate member church of Mennonite World Conference earlier this year. The decision was finalized at the fellowship’s May 2014 meeting, held at the Peace and Joy Church in Nonsan, South Korea. At that meeting, Namshik Chon and Sang-Uk Nham were elected as the president and the contact person for the new conference, respectively.
According to Nham, the formation of this new conference follows several years of church growth among South Korean Anabaptists. The oldest Anabaptist community in South Korea, Jesus Village Church, began in 1996. Since then, it has planted three new congregations. At the same time, numerous South Korean pastors and seminary students discovered Anabaptism through their studies and through books published by Korea Anabaptist Center and Daejang-gan Publishing Co., two initiatives of South Korean Anabaptists, and as a result established churches in the country. More recently, in 2013, two Anabaptist congregations took root through church planting partnerships with the Pacific Southwest Conference of Mennonite Church USA.
Amid this growing interest in Anabaptism, reports Nham, KAF was founded “to promote Anabaptist church planting in Korea [and] to help and facilitate the practice of Anabaptist perspectives in members’ Christian faith.” The growth of the fellowship ultimately led to its establishment as a conference.
“Forming a conference is a small step,” adds Nham. “But this step will lead us a higher stage, where we can work together with many churches interested in Anabaptism, and where we can promote new church planting and mutual caring among members with a proper level of protection and accountability. In this stage, we will be a light of hope, full of joy, to minister to others.”
Article by Devin Manzullo-Thomas