The synod’s NextGen reflected on the importance of remembering history as they shared their experiences from their recent contextual learning trip to South Korea with Uniting Church congregations.
A group of young people from the synod last month spent 10 days in Korea to learn about the legacy of Australian missionaries and meet leaders from the Presbyterian Church of Korea.
On Sunday, the NextGen youth visited Living Faith Church in Greensborough to share what they have learnt from their trip.
Anna Harrison, one of the young people who visited Korea, led worship during the 10am service.
She said many Korean churches, schools and hospitals have associated museums.
“Each of the museums and churches we went to told us stories of the first missionaries and the foundational leaders within their community that had made each of these ministries possible,” Anna said.
“It was quite amazing for me because a lot of the missionaries come from Australia and I didn’t know that we had any history or interaction with Korea at all.”
The historical links between Korea and Australian missionaries stretches back more than 120 years, with Melbourne sisters Helen and Catherine Mackenzie well known in Busan for establishing Ilsin Christian Hospital.
“It made me realise we don’t necessarily know the stories of where we come from. We don’t know the stories from 200 years ago,” Anna said.
“We don’t always tell the stories of the people who come before.
“But it’s actually part of our Christian tradition and it’s exactly what the Bible is. We’re going back to our core stories of what God has done through the people before us and learn from them.”
Kezia Gitareja said the trip was an eye-opening experience that highlighted the diversity of faith expressions.
“Even though we share the same faith, we have different ways of praising the Lord,” she said.
During the contextual learning trip, the NextGen youth visited Seoul, Busan and the regional city of Suncheon in the southern part of the peninsula.
“I really like Suncheon a lot because it’s more about the countryside. It’s peaceful and we really got to know the church there,” Kezia said.
“They have a school, a hospital and it was really nice how God set up everything and his work is there.”
The NextGen will visit St Andrew’s Uniting Church in Berwick this Sunday before sharing their stories at Korean Church of Melbourne in Malvern later this month and St Andrew’s Gardiner Uniting Church in September.
The August Crosslight has a feature on the NextGen’s journey to South Korea.
If you would like the NextGen youth to visit your congregation, get in touch with Swee-ann Koh at firstname.lastname@example.org