Mission life: THE KUKMIN DAILY

Another KMC Leadership Void: Bishops Council President Jun Suspended From Duties

2018-05-02 17:00
The Korean Methodist Church is facing a repeat of the troubled history of “Council of Bishops presidential election→lawsuit→loss of qualification,” which has marked the period since restoration of the “Bishops Council president 4-year full-time service system” in 2003. Except for the first beneficiary of that system, Shin Gyeong-ha, all candidates and Bishops Council presidents have become the targets of litigation. Jeon Yong-jae, whose term as council president has ended, lost his qualification but regained it through litigation that followed him throughout his term. Current Council of Bishops president Rev. Jun Myung-ku likewise has not been free from lawsuits. Following the Seoul Central Branch District Court decision invalidating his election in January, the same court on April 27 accepted an application for disposition to suspend the duties of incumbent Jun, thereby incapacitating him. The “Bishops Council president risk” is exerting a negative influence on KMC headquarters, on support work for member churches, and on church unity work.

Ji Hak-su, acting general secretary of the KMC mission department, conveyed the stance of Bishops Council president Jun, saying, “We respect the court decision…But up until the final court judgment on the election’s validity, we see this as a mere suspension of duties, leaving his qualification as Bishops Council president intact; and depending on the direction of the final ruling, there is a possibility he will be reinstated.” But the current bishops, who are to elect an acting president, are working hard on preparations. Kang Seung-jin, an elected bishop of the Seoul Annual Conference, which is one of the KMC’s 11 annual conferences, convoked a “bishops’ chat” on April 30 at KMC headquarters. That morning, talking by phone with Kukmin Daily, he said, “According to the KMC constitution’s doctrines and practices, an acting president must be elected by May 30…The schedule is tight, with many processes to be examined.”

The KMC leadership vacuum has plagued the denomination for the past 10 years. The conflict first started as a dispute over the qualifications of Bishops Council presidential candidate Rev. Kim Guk-do of Emmanuel Church. In September 2008, after Rev. Kim was declared disqualified on the basis of a defamation case in 2001 when he was ordered to pay a fine, his supporters’ group and the opposing group each held its own general assembly and the denomination came close to splitting in two. In May 2012 the KMC had the opportunity for dramatic revival, but the issue of candidate qualifications resurged, and the election was suspended three times. In 2013, four candidates were registered in June, and Rev. Jeon Yong-jae won the Bishops Council presidency in the July election, thus ending five years of conflict. But right away, the general assembly’s special trials committee handed down its ruling that the election was invalid. Bishops Council president Jeon recovered his status only after the Seoul High Court in April 2014 recognized a “disposition to suspend the effect of the election invalidity decision.”

Reporter Jang Chang-Il (jangci@kmib.co.kr), with Marion Kim (marionkkim@icloud.com)

Original Article in Korean:
[감리회, 또 다시 파행] 10년째 ‘감독회장 리스크’ 되풀이: (上) 만성화된 리더십 부재

Related Article:
Unexpected Court Ruling Invalidates Election of KMC Bishops Council President

Related Article in Korean:
[감리회, 또 다시 파행] 교황 같은 감독회장, 막강한 권한 축소해야: (下) ‘리더십 리스크’ 해법은

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