We are delighted to welcome Kukjin An as an inquirer in the Albany Presbytery. Kukjin has been doing ministry at the Korean Presbyterian Church in Schenectady and we wanted to take a moment to connect and learn a little more about him.
Before we get started, can you tell us a little bit about where you grew up, any siblings, your family, etc?
I grew up in South Korea. I had never thought to study abroad. However, while studying Korean history (B.A), and Religious studies (M.A), my interest and concerns about church had grown bigger, so that in 2011, I came to USA to study M.Div at Candler School of Theology. My parent and older brother still live in Korea, but here, at Albany, I live with my wife, So Jung, and two sons: Yejoon, who is nine and Yeho, who is five.
Share with us a little about your hobbies?
Nowadays, my favorite hobby is watching movies. I used to like it before, however, I had tried to watch more in order to have cultural conversation with younger generation: movie can be a bridge to talk about cultural trends as well as theological perspective in the world. While trying to do it, it became my favorite hobby. Even, I found it is a good way to reduce my stress.
How did you connect with PC(USA)?
While studying at Candler, I had to find a church for seminary intern, which is required for a Contextual Education class. It was a PC(USA) church, Korean Central Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. While worshiping and serving at the church, I recognized that it is very important and meaningful to serve immigrant churches, for those who live in diaspora. Pursuing the vision, I was connected with the current church, Korean Presbyterian Church of Albany, and am still walking in this journey.
Tell us about your ministry at the Korean Presbyterian Church.
Mostly, I am serving for next generation, from Pre-K to Youth. My primary goal for the next generation is to help them to grow up with a triangle of three identities: Christian, Korean, and American. One of big challenges for immigrants’ children is an identity issue. Most of them grow up as Americans, however their family or appearance are still related to Koreans. How can they have a balance? Moreover, it is important for them to have intimate relationship with God as Christians. I think, I am very blessed to serve this important ministry, while walking with God.
What brings you joy in your ministry?
There are so many. One of my greatest joy is to watch their eyes. While preaching, teaching, and serving, sometimes I can see through their eyes, how the Holy Spirit works within them, and how the Holy Spirit begins to transform their lives. Whenever I see them, I feel great joy in my life.
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