19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. – 2 Corinthians 5:19 (NRSV)
The community gathered for the North American Pacific/Asian Disciples’ 19th Biennial Convocation serves as a model of unity, not uniformity – a founding principle of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). With 18 language groups in the NAPAD community and just as many cultural traditions, the group continues to model a celebration of the gifts of all.
Lecturer Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah of North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago focused on the book of Lamentations, challenging the congregation to recognize the healing power of acknowledging loss of all kinds – of home, of identity, of community. He said, “Disruption and confusion in spiritual life is needed for growth.” He also noted that “God finds us in the rubble.”
The richness of multiple cultures and ages was most evident in worship. The opening worship featured members of the Burmese, Chin, Chuukese, Indian, Japanese, Korean and Tongan communities. Thursday afternoon included Chinese, Filipino, Malaysian, Mongolian, Montagnard, Jrai and Samoan leaders and the installation of Interim Executive Pastor Chung Seong Kim. Saturday’s closing worship was led by the NAPAD youth and their 10 teen guests from the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea belting out a medley of “One Love” and “We Are the World.”
In addition to NAPAD’s internal business and learning opportunities, the community spent two hours on Friday in a Mission First!
Mission Gathering where all members were invited to share the mission their communities are already doing as well as do some dreaming about the mission of the larger Church. One group was conducted in Korean and at least two groups were young people.
And, of course, Friday night’s Cultural Night was a magnificent celebration of both ancient and modern art. Korean fan dancers with bright fuchsia silk costumes mingled with the high energy of Samoan and Tongan dancers. Young people taught the group a dance to a Justin Timberlake tune. Christian contemporary music was performed and a brass ensemble played.
Saturday morning the new officers of the board were installed. They include: Timothy S. Lee, Moderator; Jae Young Rhee, Moderator-Elect; Eula Pagdilao, Secretary/ Treasurer; John D. Roh, Immediate Past Moderator; David Thawma Lian, Representative to the General Board; Yeahwa C. Lee, Member-at-Large; Salesa Fatu Faalau, Member-at-Large; Cisa Payuyo, Member-at-Large; Caleb Wang, Member-at-Large; Tavita Uesi, Member-at-Large; Ron Degges, General Ministries Representative; a member of the College of Regional Ministers (to be named in August); Chung Seong Kim, Interim Executive Pastor and Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President.
Special thanks to Capital Area Regional Minister Allen Harris and Executive Director of Disciples Women, Patricia Donahoo, for Cultural Night photos.