Korean Lutherans celebrate 60 years

Participants in the Lutheran Church in Korea’s 2018 convention.

SOUTH KOREA – The Lutheran Church in Korea (LCK) held its 48th regular convention October 10-12 at Luther University in Yongin, South Korea, during which time the church celebrated 60 years of Lutheran witness in Korea. The gathering took place under the theme “Arise, Shine.”

LCK President Young-Seok Jin and LCMS President Matthew Harrison sign a protocol agreement between their two churches.

The first Lutheran outreach in Korea took place in 1832, but sustained Lutheran ministry in the country did not take place until 1958, when The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) established mission work in the region. That work was undertaken by three American missionaries (Paul Bartling, Maynard Dorow, and Kurt Voss) and their families, along with one Korean clergyman, Dr. Won-Yong Ji, who had received his doctorate from the LCMS’ Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.

The church achieved independence in 1971. Today, the LCK counts more than 5,000 members in more than 50 churches across the country, though it has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands more through various mass-media mission programs, like the Lutheran Hour and the Bethel Bible study program.

LCMS President Matthew Harrison was present for the event, bringing greetings to the church as it celebrates 60 years of Lutheranism in Korea. On October 10, the two churches took the opportunity to reaffirm their ties to one another, with LCK President Young-Seok Jin and LCMS President Harrison signing an updated protocol document between the two churches. The document will guide continued cooperation between the two churches going forward.

ILC General Secretary Albert Collver, LCK President Young-Seok Jin, and LCMS President Matthew Harrison.

The Lutheran Church in Korea is a member church of the International Lutheran Council (ILC). Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, General Secretary of the ILC, was also present for anniversary celebrations in Korea.


Lutheran Church in Korea elects new President

President Chul-Hwan Kim
President Chul-Hwan Kim

KOREA – The Lutheran Church in Korea (LCK) has elected Rev. Dr. Chul-Hwan Kim to a five-year term as President at its national convention in Busan, October 9-10. He was installed November 4, 2013.

Prior to the election, Rev. Dr. Kim served as a pastor of Bethel Church in Seoul and as a professor at the LCK’s Luther University. In addition to his studies in Korea, Dr. Kim completed his S.T.M and Ph.D. at Concordia Seminary (St. Louis, Missouri) and Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary (Fort Wayne, Indiana), respectively. Dr. Kim was also a contributor to The Lutheran Study Bible, published by Concordia Publishing House in 2009.

“On behalf of the International Lutheran Council (ILC) I wanted to bring you greetings and congratulations on your election as the President of the Lutheran Church in Korea,” wrote Rev. Dr. Albert Collver (ILC Executive Secretary) in a letter to President Kim shortly following his installation. “May Christ richly bless you and your church, providing you with every grace to accomplish the task the Lord has given to you.”

President Kim succeeds Rev. Dr. Hyun-Sub Um, who served as LCK President from 2005-2013. During President Um’s tenure, the LCK hosted the 2009 triennial World Conference of the International Lutheran Council in Seoul.