Korean students prepare for ministry via ''travelling theology''

Gyoung Ho Jeong: ''process of learning from life settings''

A Korean professor who has taken theology students to live with nomadic herders in Mongolia and with the urban poor in Viet Nam believes he may be creating a new branch of theology, one which he has dubbed « Travelling Theology ».

Gyoung Ho Jeong who teaches Christian social ethics at Youngnam Theological College and Seminary in Kyungsan is in Geneva for meetings of the executive committee of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (21-31 May).

Jeong described his novel approach to teaching theology in a review of initiatives by Reformed church institutions in response to economic and environmental concerns. In Mongolia, Jeong’s students learned from herders about living a lifestyle that respects the local ecology.

“The herders showed us that they could gather all their garbage for six months in one small plastic bag,” Jeong marvels. “Each time they cooked rice, they would put a few grains into the ground to say thank you to Grandmother Earth.”

Jeong laughs as he reports that students learned about caring for God’s creation by literally getting their hands dirty. “When the local people realized that we could not ride horses and would be of no use for herding, they assigned us to collect horse dung to enrich the soil!”

The Korean group observed that, despite the herders’ care for the environment, their drinking water is polluted by other sources and is causing high rates of kidney problems. The students left vowing to return with a kidney specialist. "This is a process of learning from life settings,” says Jeong. “It is not tourism.”

A second group of students travelled to Ho Chi Min City on a peace mission to bring apologies to local churches for Korea’s role in the American war in Viet Nam. Jeong says it is not widely known in Korea that from 1968 - 1971 there were Korean soldiers fighting alongside American troops.

“This involvement in the war effort helped Korea take off economically,” Jeong says. “We are now a rich country because of what we did. So we must apologize.”

The students were invited by the church in Viet Nam to visit congregations where they brought apologies, the first known to have been made by Korean Christians.

Seeing the poverty in the communities they visited, the students chose to eat frugally and to save their food money to contribute to a project which is building houses for the poor. The savings of USD $1500 will cover the costs of building three new homes.

“My job is to train seminarians who will work in the future world,” says Jeong. “These experiences will affect how their theology develops for years to come.”

Pressemitteilung des Reformierten Weltbundes (RWB) / WARC, 27. Mai 2009

Church of Scotland begrüßt Entscheidung, den Lockerbie-Attentäter aus der Haft zu entlassen

''Eine Botschaft für die Welt, was es heißt, Schottisch zu sein''
Edinburgh (ENI). The (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland has said it fully supports a decision taken by the Scottish Government on 20 August to release the convicted Lockerbie bomber, Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi, on compassionate grounds. ''This decision has sent a message to the world about what it is to be Scottish,'' the Rev. Ian Galloway, convenor of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, said in a statement. ''We are defined as a nation by how we treat those who have chosen to hurt us. Do we choose mercy even when they did not choose mercy?''

Barbara Schenck
As Reformed churches worldwide prepare to celebrate the 500th anniversary on 10 July of the birth of Protestant Reformation leader, John Calvin, leaders of a global movement of Reformed churches have issued a statement calling on Christians to commemorate Calvin not as a saint but as a source of inspiration for responding to contemporary social and environmental concerns.

Pressemeldung des WARC, 8. Juli 2009

Reformierte Kirchen sagen: Calvin machte aus Genf die internationale Stadt, die sie heute ist

Genf: Stadt Calvins und Stätte eines internationalen Calvinismus
(WARC/RWB) In Genf soll am 10. Juli eine kirchliche Gedenkfeier den 500. Jahrestag der Geburt Calvins, des Vorkämpfers der protestantischen Reformation, markieren. Diese Feier soll dem Einfluss des französischen Reformators auf die internationale Ausstrahlung und das Profil seiner Adoptivstadt gewidmet sein.

Pressemeldung des Reformierten Weltbundes vom 7. Juli 2009

Reformierter Weltbund: Jugend in der Evangelisch reformierten Kirche Lithauens soll sich als David gegen Goliath erheben

In Erinnerung an Calvin als jungen Reformator ermutigt Generalsekretär Nyomi die Reformierte Kirche in Lithauen, jungen Leuten Raum für ihre Begabungen zu geben
(WARC, 24. Juni 2009) Youth should be entrusted with church leadership positions a senior Reformed church executive has told leaders of the Evangelical Reformed Church of Lithuania.

GEKE : Evangelische Kirchen mühen sich um Versöhnung 20 Jahre nach dem Fall des Eisernen Vorhangs

Wipf: Einsatz für Minderheiten ist ''Nagelprobe des Bekenntnisses zur Freiheit''
Erinnerung an Grenzöffnung 1989 verpflichtet zum Einsatz für nationale und ethnische Minderheiten – erstarkter Nationalismus stellt das Miteinander in Europa in Frage – Präsident und Generalsekretär der GEKE auf Gedenkfeierlichkeiten zum 20. Jahrestag der Grenzöffnung.

Sopron, 4. Juli 2009, Thomas Flügge, Pressesprecher Gemeinschaft Evangelischer Kirchen in Europa (GEKE)

Der GEKE focus 6 (2/09) jetzt im Internet

zum kostenlosen Download auf www.leuenberg.eu
Human dignity vs. Christian morality? - Die Kluft zwischen Arm und Reich bedeutet soziale Ausgrenzung - Demeurer avec son temps - We are above all interested in the practice of faith

Thomas Flügge, GEKE

CH/Graubünden: Ein Prozent Kirchensteuern gegen die Armut

Reformierte Bündner Landeskirche leistet Beitrag zur Halbierung der Armut im Jahr 2015
Die reformierte Bündner Landeskirche setzt 127.000 Franken ihrer Steuereinnahmen gegen die Armut ein. Der Kirchenrat hat jetzt die Empfänger bestimmt: Das Kirchensteuerprozent wird für Hilfs- und Entwicklungsprojekte in anderen Kontinenten eingesetzt. Denn das Engagement der Landeskirche geht auf die Uno-Milleniumserklärung zurück, die bis zum Jahr 2015 eine Halbierung der weltweiten Armut erreichen will.

19.06.2009 RNA/comm. / GEKE-Newsletter
Das Präsidium der GEKE würdigt in einer Erklärung den 20. Jahrestag der Öffnung des Eisernen Vorhangs: Das grenzenlose Europa bietet Freiheit und Chancen, gleichzeitig belastet eine neue Re-Nationalisierung das Miteinander.

Wien/Bern, 24. Juni 2009 / Thomas Flügge (Pressesprecher)

Moderator der Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK) für Abgabe eines ökumenischen Zehnten

Spende der PCK an den Reformierten Weltbund als Johannes Calvin Geburtstagsgeschenk
The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK) has told members of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) that he believes churches should be motivated to engage in a movement for ''ecumenical tithing''.

Pressemitteilung des Reformierten Weltbundes, 5. Juni 2009

Südafrika begrüßt Entscheidung der Reformed Church of America Rassismus als Sünde zu bekennen und das Belhar Bekenntnis anzuerkennen

A South African church leader is hailing a move by an American church to require members to confess racism as a sin.
Representatives of the Reformed Church of America (RCA) voted at meetings in the city of Holland (8. Juni 2009) in the northeastern United States to accept the Belhar Confession as one of four foundational statements of belief which define the terms of church membership.

WARC, 9. Juni 2009
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