What were the early Korean churches in Toronto like?
In the early days of the Korean church in Toronto, around 1969-1970, we had only three Korean churches in Toronto. At that time, we had a wonderful church life. We had good worship service, had good fellowship and made a lot of new friends. It was good for us to have church. Church was for immigrants. That was going on for a while, many, many years.
Somehow after several years, we were uncomfortable with church life because there were a lot of arguments among church members and even church elders. I think at that time we didn’t have good leadership so we didn’t know how to handle and how to deal with the church matters. It was bad for churches and all the members. This trend was going on for a long time, like five or six, seven years. Because of the bad struggle and bad arguing with each other, the church started to get separated. Breaking up. These separation and the break ups really had brought up great pain upon us, even more onto the second generations. It was too bad, right? The second generation, they got discouraged, disappointed; they had a bad impression about the churches and even their parents.
Many years after, somehow, we were becoming happier and comfortable again. I think at that time some church institutions, for a long time, were trying to bring good leadership into churches. And they were trying to get many people trained for church matters. It was good. The churches were getting settled down, so we had wonderful church lives.
Where did the idea for amalgamation come up?
In the middle of the 1990s, Mr. Park Hyungsoon was our pastor in North York Church. He was a good pastor, so we all liked him and we all had a good church life with him. One day, he announced that he was going to resign from his post. As soon as we heard about his resignation, we were all surprised, right? So we all tried to persuade him not to resign, but he was so determined to go back to Korea. That’s why he was wanting to resign. His father was a Reverend. The Reverend was asking him to come back to take the position of a chaplain, so we couldn’t stop him.
We were talking about amalgamation because we didn’t have enough members to carry on to do the church mission. So we needed to try to increase the numbers, but it wasn’t too easy to increase. It was the right time because we needed a new minister and one time we invited Reverend Kim to our church. He gave us a lecture about the church fusions. It was a good lecture, we all liked him. The majority was going forward for this amalgamation. Then the two parties were negotiating, then the amalgamation was established. We had a good amalgamation.
What thoughts and feelings did you have during the amalgamation?
Majority all liked Rev. Kim first and they were anxious to get a bigger church so they all understood about amalgamation, that’s the way to go for the amalgamation. So at the beginning, I was so happy with the amalgamations because I know Rev. Kim, I knew some elders from the church, I knew some members so I was so excited to meet them. We all had wonderful church lives with each other. My wife, my family, all my brothers, all members, we all liked it so much. There were no problems. We were all mingling quite nicely with each other.
What are some good memories you have from after the amalgamation?
At the beginning, we had a good church life. I have a good memory of the group discussion. We had group discussions every Wednesday. Rev. Kim gave us a sermon and after that we divided into groups, we had group discussions. I enjoyed it. That was a good memory. And at the beginning, we had the Guyeok Contest. So each house church had to practice and have rehearsal. That was a good time to get to know each other. That was a good memory at that time.
How has this church shaped you?
All I would like to say is this. I am happy with what I am and who I am. Because my spiritual journey, I’m sure, has been on the right track since I have been with the church. This church has given me a lot of spiritual things, such as good sermons and Inner Voice. I read Inner Voice every morning. And the house church activities, the Bible studies, Bible readings, and many other things. Like the annual slogan. This is good, the annual slogan. I try to concentrate on the annual slogans. These kinds of things. So I was happy with the church and I always appreciated what the teachers did for me. I hope to go on like this until I reach the end of my life. I’m happy. I like Rev. Chung, Rev. Kim, everybody. This is what I am from this church.
Table of Contents
- Community of the Word: 25 Years of St. Timothy Presbyterian Church
- Life and Ministry of Rev. In Kee Kim
- Early Years and Ministry
- Formation and Early Years of Living Stone (1992-1996)
- Amalgamation and North York Living Stone (1996-2000)
- Becoming St. Timothy (2001)
- Growing Roots and Growth (2001-2010)
- Maturation into Spiritual Community (2010-2020)
- Pandemic and What Comes Next (2020-Beyond)
- Hermeneutics and Approach to Scripture
- How the Community Shaped Them: Stories from Members
- Reflections from Rev. Jane Yoon
- The Message of St. Timothy
- Life and Ministry of Rev. In Kee Kim