Camphor United Methodist Church and First Korean Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia Celebrate 25th Joint Fellowship

Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:08am EDT

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Camphor United Methodist Church and First Korean Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia Celebrate 25th Joint Fellowship

PR Newswire

PHILADELPHIA, April 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church and First Korean Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia will celebrate their 25th annual worship service and fellowship on Sunday, April 28, 2013, from 3 to 6 p.m. at Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church, 5620 Wyalusing Avenue, Philadelphia.

The worship service will feature intergenerational choirs, praise dance and instrumental music of both cultures. A free will offering will benefit the Haiti Hot Lunch Program, a Global Mission Project of the United Methodist Church to provide hot, nutritious meals to schoolchildren in Haiti.  A high point of the service will be the presentation of a $500 scholarship to a Camphor student and First Korean Presbyterian student. A fellowship dinner will follow the service where there will be plenty of Korean, African-American Soul Food, African food and desserts for all to enjoy.

The Camphor-First Korean Fellowship began in 1988 while Rev. Paul Kim was Associate Pastor at Camphor pursuant to a special cross-cultural pulpit appointment by the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church. The African-American congregation at Camphor Memorial received Rev. Kim and his family with open arms and delighted in helping him with his English and learning about Korean people and culture. About this same time tensions were mounting in West Philadelphia between Korean merchants and the mostly African-American community.  Camphor's then Senior Pastor, Rev. Clyde Henry, and Rev. Kim were convinced that Camphor Memorial UMC could help alleviate the conflict by establishing a relationship with a Korean church where the pastors and members of all ages would worship together, discuss their mutual concerns, and share their cultural histories and experiences. 

Rev. Manwoo Kim and his congregation at First Korean Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia enthusiastically responded to the call and the first combined worship service was held at Camphor Memorial UMC on April 24, 1988. The special afternoon service consisted of music presented by the talented choirs and musical ensembles of both churches in Korean and English languages and then the combined singing of the choirs and congregation of songs ranging from English hymns, African-American spirituals, and contemporary Christian gospel to folk music. The service was followed with a banquet of Korean entrees and Soul Food desserts. Since that time, similar worship and fellowship services have occurred on an annual basis on the 4th Sunday in April at First Korean Presbyterian and Camphor Memorial UMC in alternating years.

More than worship services have occurred. Over the years, Korean and African-American families from the churches have come together for dinner and family gatherings at their respective homes.   In addition, the churches have awarded over $25,000 in scholarships to deserving students in the congregations. In 1996, Rev. D. Watson Tatem, then Senior Pastor of Camphor, and Rev. Manwoo Kim traveled to South Korea under the auspices of the Philadelphia Church Council Program for the Korean/African-American Pastors Joint Visit to Korea. While there, Rev. Tatem extended greetings on behalf of both Camphor and First Korean Presbyterian to everyone she met. Her sermon to over 3,000 students at Yum Kwang Girls' High School in Seoul erupted in praise and celebration and remains a beacon of goodwill and world ministry by two churches from Philadelphia. 

In 1998, the 10th Anniversary year of the fellowship, Rev. Herbert Coe, Senior Pastor of Camphor Memorial, and Rev. Manwoo Kim returned to Korea in furtherance of the goal to introduce African-American pastors and churches to the Korean churches. The entire year celebrated the anniversary with Cultural Seminars on African-American and Korean-American history and culture, with the goal of discovering God's mandate to the joint Christian community in the greater Philadelphia area for the present generation. The seminars were led by Rev. Dr. Cecil Gray, a former Associate Pastor at Camphor who obtained his Ph.D. at Temple University in Africology/African-American Studies specializing in African-American/African History and Culture and African/African-American Religion, Philosophy and Spirituality and Rev. Dr. Stephen Linton, Fulbright Scholar and Chairman of The Eugene Bell Centennial Foundation and Research Associate at the Center for Korean Research, East Asian Institute, at Columbia University. 

The lectures were followed by a panel discussion led by the guest speakers and selected others on "The Role of Christians in Society." The Peros Choir of the Kosin University in Korea, the Temple University Gospel Choir, Rita McKinley, soprano, George Braxton, baritone, Michael and Daniel Chong, violinists, joined the choirs of Camphor Memorial UMC and First Korean Presbyterian in an "Invitational Festival of Music" for an evening of sacred music. A Photo Gallery of the past worship services was displayed at the Joint Worship and Fellowship Program and slides of more pictures of the fellowship were shown during the Anniversary Banquet.

Additional information about the upcoming 25th Anniversary of the Camphor-First Korean Joint Multicultural Program on April 28, 2013, may be obtained by calling Rev. Alfred W. Jones III at Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church at 215-747-2600 or Rev. Hakkoo Kang at First Korean Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia at 215-549-6880.

April 21, 2013


Camphor Memorial

Rev. Alfred W. Jones, III, Senior Pastor, 215-747-2600

United Methodist Church

Mrs. Catherine Exum, 215-477-6440

5620 Wyalusing Avenue

Ms. Carol Black, 610-869-4780

Philadelphia, PA 19131

Phone: 215-747-2600

Rev. Hakkoo Kang, 215-549-6880

Fax: 215-747-3954

Elder Jae-Gyu Kwagh, 215-946-2199

SOURCE Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church

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