Mission life: THE KUKMIN DAILY

PCK Tonghap Trial Department: “Decision to appoint Rev. Kim Ha-na was legally valid”

2018-08-08 15:46

On August 7, the Trials Department (Rev. Lee Gyeong-hui, director) of the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK) Tonghap opened a trial at the Korea Church Centennial Memorial Building in Jongno-gu, Seoul, and handed down its judgment that the decision to appoint Rev. Kim Ha-na as pastor of Myungsung Church was legally valid. This judgment came in response to the lawsuit filed last November by the emergency countermeasures committee (Rev. Kim Su-won, chair) of Southeast Seoul Presbytery, calling for the invalidation of the same Southeast Seoul Presbytery’s decision to appoint Rev. Kim.

The 15 members of the Trials Department cast unsigned secret ballots to vote on the issue of Rev. Kim’s appointment. The results showed eight who found it valid, and seven who judged it invalid. At a press conference held directly after the trial, Trials Director Lee Gyeong-hui reported, “The vote was carried out by unsigned secret ballot according to the agreement of all department members… All 15 members took part in the vote, on the basis of conscience and impartiality.” The legal battle has gone on for nine months, ever since Rev. Kim’s installation as head pastor of Myungsung Church. Kim is the son of Myungsung Church’s founder, Pastor Emeritus Kim Sam-hwan.

The arguments on this day articulated the clash between the position that Rev. Kim’s appointment was the exercise of basic rights by the church and its members, and the contrary position that the appointment violated the ban on hereditary succession contained in the PCK Tonghap constitution. The emergency countermeasures committee claimed that the appointment was unlawful according to chapter 2, article 28, clause 6 of the denomination’s constitution, which states, “Neither the spouse of a retiring pastor, nor the pastor’s direct descendant, nor the spouse of the direct descendant may be appointed to the post of head pastor.” In support of the appointment, the opposing side argued that the term “retiring” in the clause meant the appointment was lawful, since it took place after the retirement of Rev. Kim Sam-hwan in 2015.

On this day also, in the Korean Church Centennial Memorial Building, some arguments took place between Myungsung Church members and citizens opposed to Rev. Kim’s appointment.

Prior to the trial, the Solidarity Movement Against Church Hereditary Succession and other groups held a press conference and issued a statement saying, “We look forward to a just decision by the Trials Department.” Six theological seminary student associations including the student association of Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary (PUTS) also issued a joint statement opposing hereditary succession (photo).

Reporter DongWoo Kim (love@kmib.co.kr), with Marion Kim (marionkkim@icloud.com)

Original Article in Korean:
“김하나 목사 청빙 결의 적법”: 예장통합 총회 재판국, 무효확인 소송 9개월 만에 판결

Related Article:
Installation of Rev. Kim Ha-na at Myungsung Church

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