Korean Churches Multiply in Classis of Greater Palisades

Date Posted: 
Monday, February 3, 2014

Fifteen years ago, there were no Korean congregations in the Classis of Greater Palisades. Today there are 12, including Jesus Dream Church in Fort Lee and Hallelujah Church in Haworth, New Jersey, which were accepted into the RCA in October.

Much of the growth is driven by the increasing number of Koreans moving to northeastern New Jersey.

"The Greater Palisades Classis is a unique multicultural classis in the RCA," says Sun Ju, coordinator of Korean ministries for the Classis of Greater Palisades. "Korean immigrant people have moved to this area to find job opportunities, good school systems for children, and accessibility to New York City."

He says many of the new residents are first-generation immigrants who grew up in the Presbyterian Church in Korea (PCK). "Most Korean churches in the RCA were planted by first generations of immigrants. Their pastors also are immigrants, with ministry experience in Korea. They know they need to join a denomination."Ju says Korean congregations are drawn to the RCA because of its Reformed theology and polity, which are very similar to the PCK’s. He says the RCA has also been very welcoming to new Korean ministries.

There’s also a historical connection: Horace Underwood, an ordained RCA pastor and Presbyterian missionary, was instrumental in establishing the Presbyterian Church in Korea in the late 1800s. "He dedicated his life to the Korean church and community," says Ju.

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