Oct. 27, 2004
|UMNS photo courtesy of GBGM
David Wu stands in a three-acre plot in Kazakhstan where a center for a Central Asia Mission may be built.
By Elliott Wright*
Conn. (UMNS) -- A New York City Korean-American congregation is giving
$130,000 to establish a new United Methodist mission center to serve
Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries that were once part of the
Rev. Joong Um Kim, senior pastor, and lay leaders of the First United
Methodist Church of Flushing, Queens, presented the gift to the United
Methodist Board of Global Ministries during its annual meeting in
last year, the Central Asia Mission has six congregations--three in
Kazakhstan, two in Kyrgystan, and one in Uzbekistan. The mission is an
initiative of the denomination’s Russia and Eurasia Area. The new center
will be located in Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan, which is a
traditionally Muslim country.
Joel N. Martinez of San Antonio, board president, and the Rev. R. Randy
Day, chief executive, accepted the gift. "This represents a new pattern
of direct mission partnership between a local congregation and the
board," Martinez said.
Flushing church is the largest congregation in the United Methodist New
York Annual (regional) Conference and the denomination’s largest
Korean-American U.S. congregation, with a weekly worship attendance of
more than 1,000 people.
went to Almaty in August 2003 as part of a delegation visiting United
Methodist work begun in the area a few months earlier by the Rev. Dmitri
Le. Excited by mission potential in Central Asia, he conveyed his
enthusiasm to the Flushing congregation, which in September decided to
invest $130,000 of its mission funds in the project.
new center probably will be located in downtown Almaty on a three-acre
track that includes an unfinished building. The asking price of the
property is $80,000, with another $50,000 to $60,000 needed to complete
and equip the structure.Kazakhstan is a geographically large country
south of Russia and east of China. It currently has some 16 million
people, a stable economy, and a democratic government. The much smaller,
nearby Kyrgyzstan has a population of 4.6 million; Uzbekistan, which is
southwest of Kazakhstan, has more than 26 million people. Each of these
countries has small Eastern Orthodox Christian minorities. The
population of Almaty, the major city in Kazakhstan, is 1.5 million.
Korean American congregations are also assisting with the Central Asia
Mission. To date, an additional $23,400 has been received and another
are very optimistic about the Central Asia Mission," Day said. "We are
working closely with the Eurasia Area, currently led by Bishop Ruediger
Minor in this effort."
*Elliott Wright is a communications consultant with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
News media contact: Linda Bloom·(646)369-3759·New York· E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.