This past weekend, four of our six children were home. A family friend’s wedding drew Luke and Laurel home from Costa Rica; the end of the college year brought Caleb home; and Cheri chose to visit, All of this meant a great weekend for us, as parents. As part of this weekend, it seemed that “coming home” or being “at home” was spoken quite often. That raised the question: What does “home” feel like to you? For me, it’s a place of belonging. I belong at home because it is familiar to me. I belong there because the people I love and are connected with are there. I belong at home because it is a part me – even inseparable from me. So, other than my family visit, why is this something I’m reflecting on today?
We have some news to share with you about Jusarang and Disciple Churches – congregations of Zeeland Classis located in the Atlanta suburb of Suwanee. Over the last two years – but particularly since September of 2018 – we have been in conversations with Jusarang (Billy and Cecilia Go) and Disciple (Sung Howie Kim) regarding their place and home in the RCA. After 10 years of being in Zeeland Classis, it was clear that we have not been able to enfold them or give them a home. Zeeland Classis has worked at it, but distance, language and context have worked against us.
During this conversation, we discovered that Jusarang and Disciple churches had connections with a Korean cohort of churches located in the Classis of the Greater Palisades (Newark, NJ area). In fact, they had even engaged in pulpit exchanges with pastors from that group of churches which was unknown to us until we were in this discussion. The Classis of the Greater Palisades also has a Korean staff person who coordinates an annual retreat and coaches leaders. In January of 2019, Jusarang and Disciple asked if they might transfer to the Classis of the Greater Palisades. With the support and blessing of all parties – supported by a 3-year financial commitment by Zeeland Classis with the Classis of the Greater Palisades – the decision to approve the transfer of Jusarang and Disciple to the Classis of the Greater Palisades will be confirmed at General Synod 2019.
For some in our classis, this may feel like a bit of a loss for Zeeland Classis. After all, we have expended resources and personal time to support this group with hopes that our relationship would grow and flourish. After 10 years, however, that did not happen. So, it is time for our Korean brothers and sisters to come home. The opportunity to connect in the Korean language with other Korean churches located in large city environments feels like home. Being resourced by a Korean leader who can interact with the Elders of their church feels like home.
As this journey with Jusarang and Disciple comes to an end in Zeeland Classis, we are grateful that God has given them a home within the RCA. We ask that you would pray for these churches and for their new home. Should someone inquire of you about this journey, we would ask that you speak in grace and truth that all churches in the RCA should feel “at home” in the “bounds of classis.” To that end, we say to our Korean brothers and sisters and the Classis of the Greater Palisades, “welcome home!”