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

Geneva (ENI 10/06/2009). The Rev. Fred Kaan, a prolific 20th century English-language hymnologist, once described himself as the "world's most surprised hymn writer". Kaan, who has died aged 80, was unable to read music but wrote the words of more than 200 hymns in English, even though he started to learn the language only at the age of 16. He was born in the Netherlands in 1929 of Dutch parents, and moved in the 1950s to England, where he died on 4 October. Kaan was a retired minister of Britain's Untied Reformed Church. 1970-1978 Kaan was executive secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.

Barbara Schenck

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Pressemitteilung 21/2009 / GEKE, 3. Oktober 2009

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Ulf Preuß, Pressesprecher der ERK

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Ein Erfolg der Kampagne «High Tech - No Rights?»
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Pressemitteilung: RNA, 24. September 2009
Die Baptist Union of Great Britain, die Metodist Church und die United Reformed Church fordern gemeinsam ihre Gemeinden auf, den 20. September 2009 als Peacemaking Sunday zu feiern. Dazu wurde eine gemeinsame Liturgie erstellt (auch als PDF zum Download).

Barbara Schenck

WARC/Global Dialogue on the Accra Confession

Strong emphasis on need for action by Christians against economic and ecological injustice
Setri Nyomi: ''We cannot ignore the millions of victims of injustice and the consequences of human devastation upon the Earth.''

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Evangelische Nachrichten aus Tschechien

Nachrichten aus der EKBB auf Deutsch und Englisch
Bulletin der Evangelischen Kirche der Böhmischen Brüder (EKBB), der Diakonie der Evangelischen Kirche der Böhmischen Brüder und der Evangelisch-Theologischen Fakultät der Karlsuniversität als PDF auf www.srcce.cz

Barbara Schenck

Niederlande: Balkenende: ''The church is a haven. You can recharge there''

Premierminister Balkenende würdigt neue Möglichkeit, den Glauben mit der Zeitschrift ''glossy'' zu zeigen
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Barbara Schenck