A Special December in the History of Chunbukyo
December is a special month in the annals of the Chunbukyo Church that began in 1955, a turning point with the building of the first Chunbukyo Church and the inauguration of the first mega choir, among others. In December, as the year is drawing to a close and getting ready for a new beginning, we will look over the contemporary stories of those who have experienced this December enshrined in the annals of the Chunbukyo Church as recorded in the articles of the Chunbukyo Weekly.
◈ The first Chunbukyo Church began in December, 1955.
In December, 1955, began the Chunbukyo Church on Wonhyoro, the first of its kind. Those who had received grace at God’s tent meetings gathered at the prayer room at His house on Wonhyoro to hold services and for them a church was built in the backyard, the Chunbukyo Church on Wonhyoro. Kim Do-sam, Seungsa (deceased), one of the 80 board members, remembers that time as follows.
Attending God’s meeting held on the sands of the Han River in July, 1955, I was among the more than 200,000 people gathered like endless folds of clouds to receive the grace. In the middle of the meeting the mute spoke, the blind jumped up because of sight, the crippled romped, saying the return of strength in their legs, and a whole lot of joyous excitement went on.
“What wonderful works of the Holy Spirit!” Deeply moved, I was on my way home when someone said he had heard that “In a couple of days a service would be held in the prayer room at Elder Park Tae-sun’s house.” Learning about it entirely by chance I went there and found scores of people already in attendance, praying and singing hymns.
We prayed throughout the night and the next morning God asked us to count how many had gathered. We counted 80. “Today we start God’s work, building altars and spreading the word throughout the country,” he said, after which he had his hands laid on me before I headed home.
Since then I continued to attend the daybreak service in the prayer room and, then appointed as general secretary of the Sunday school. A short while later the Sunday school was launched, the number of students reaching 2,000 and their classroom teachers 180.
By the time we started building the Chunbukyo Church on Wonhyo-ro in the backyard of God’s house everyday two or three hundred people prayed overnight, braving the hoarfrost covering the tent when they woke up in the cold winter morning. Separated from the ground only by a thin sheet of opened woven rice straw bagging they continued praying through the night, not minding the cold. After completion of the Chunbukyo Church on Wonhyoro in December, 1955, the number of attendees expanded from the initial 80 to 500.
◈ In December, 1956, Chunbukyo Churches were built all over the country.
In December, 1956, countless waves of people started surging to the Chunbukyo Churches built all over the country. Accurately reflecting these facts the Chunbukyo Weekly, dated December 25, 1956, reports on the rising profile of the Chunbukyo Church everywhere in the country with numerous photographs. On Page 2 are displayed the Chunbukyo Church on Wonhyoro, the colorful and varied photos of the Twenty Thousand Altar, the Chunbukyo Church with a seating capacity of 20,000 under construction, and other Chunbukyo Churches being built in Incheon, Busan, Yusoo, and Yungsanpo.
One report is on the growth after growth of the Yungduk Chunbukyo Church, its attendance quadrupling that of the neighboring Presbyterian churches put together, alarming the church establishment. Another report is on the Andong Chunbukyo Church which has church members snowballing after construction of its building and plans to have a dedication service in mid-January.
There is also a report on the new construction of the Incheon Chunbukyo Church, photographing a stately building with a seating capacity of 6,000. Having directly participated in its construction phase, Jung In-sun, Deaconess (Gijang Faith Village), gives the following testimonial.
When the Incheon Chunbukyo Church went into construction on the hillside in Soongwi-dong, everybody pitched in, young and old, even students, carrying building materials and helping on the job site. As all of us carried bricks and blocks, singing hymns, I felt overjoyed to contribute what little strength I had.
Upon completion of the Incheon Chunbukyo Church a dedication service was held in the presence of God. My father, a dentist, objected to my going to the Chunbukyo Church but after the Minister’s visit to our house to hold a service his objection abated and he even attended the building dedication.
After hearing God speak at the dedication service my father, who had heard his friends only badmouthing the Chunbukyo Church, changed completely. Saying he was surprised by the talk on the Law of Liberty that forbids sinning with the mind or in thought, he said he wanted to hear more and started going to the daybreak service of the Chunbukyo Church, his diligence in attendance soon far surpassing mine. After the dedication service for the Incheon Chunbukyo Church my mother also joined us. Still vivid is my memory of the joy and gratitude I felt for having my whole family live the same life of faith with one mind.
◈ In December, 1969, the first mega chorus began.
In December, 1969, the Zion Chorus held its first mega choral concert. On December 23, at the Civic Center in Seoul, the Zion Chorus, founded earlier in May that year, held its first performance with 700 of its members collaborating with the National Symphony Orchestra, drawing much attention.
Mr. Kim Dong-jin, the composer who had conducted the concert, stated his impressions afterwards as follows: “Up to now the big choruses in our country numbered 150 to 200. The success of this unprecedented mega chorus is the result of all the chorus members doing their utmost. If it keeps working this way in the future, it will become a great chorus.”
Received with enthusiastic audience cheering and clapping the 3-part concert with the guest appearance of the Zion Children’s Chorus in the middle was broadcast live, big time, on KBS-TV and MBC-TV.
The mega performances of the Zion Chorus that began at this time grew even larger with the singers numbering 1,500 at its 2nd concert in 1970 and continued until its 18th concert in 1986.
Kang Moon-hyun, Senior Deaconess (Incheon Church), who had been a member of the Zion Chorus from its very beginning, tells her experience as follows:
I joined the Zion Chorus when it was organized in 1969. I wasn’t a great singer but even in school I liked singing along with other people and in choruses.
For its 2nd annual concert in 1970 the big chorus with 1,500 members sang under the direction of Professor Kim Dong-jin. Going through the rehearsal I braced myself with the thought, “Let me sing praises to God with all my heart though I may be inadequate.” But as I started singing on the stage, I was surprised by my own voice, a truly sweet and beautiful melody flowing out of me, hitting the high notes seamlessly. As our large assembly of people sang hymns with all our heart, the sound resonated as if coming from heaven and became truly moving.
After a taste of this I took part in every choral performance without fail and was active as a member of the Zion Chorus until its 18th annual concert in 1986 at the Sejong Cultural Center.
◈In December, 1996, the Water of Life Tofu Factory was built.
In December, 1996, the Water of Life Tofu Factory was completed, marketing its first products. This was followed by Yogurt Run in 2005 and Life of Water Soy Sauce in 2011, all from the new factories that made up the Food Industrial Complex nestled in the beautiful environment of nature at the Faith Village. Park Geum-suk, Senior Deaconess (Sosa Faith Village), gives a narrative of how she retrieved her faith, looking at the Water of Life tofu vividly branded with the Faith Village logo.
In 1998 or thereabouts my heart yearned for a Chunbukyo Church. At the very beginning as the Faith Village was started in Sosa I worked as a member in the construction crew and also led a believer’s life at the Dukso Faith Village, but after moving to Seoul I gradually drifted away from the Chunbukyo Church. “Preoccupied with earning a living I’ve squandered all my time,” I thought regretfully, missing the time gone by deeply. I realized that the time I had received the grace was the most valuable in my whole life and wept bitterly, yearning for a return to the Faith Village.
Then one day I was buying tofu and noticed that the wrap had the Faith Village logo. As I recognized the familiar mark, tears suddenly gushed out. The merchant was surprised to see me cry, holding the tofu close to my chest.
Barely getting hold of myself I asked him one question after another and was told that the tofu was made at the Gijang Faith Village in Busan. I was overjoyed and thrilled to learn that one could attend the service at the Fifty Thousand Altar, the Chunbukyo Church with a seating capacity of 50,000 in the Faith Village of Sosa. That very Sunday I went to the Fifty Thousand Altar and, getting directions to the Chunbukyo Church in Guwi-dong near my house, I started attending the daybreak service.
Learning the words of God during the service I was thrilled and overjoyed to come to know the truth little by little and made my pledge: “God! I have come back after staying away long. From now on I won’t lose the way but will follow it to the end.” Even now, whenever I see the Water of Life tofu, I thank it, recalling the time when it made me find my way back to my home land.
(Page 4 Photo Description clockwise)
(Photo 1) God preaching at the Chunbukyo Church on Wonhyoro and the congregation listening intently (circa 1956).
(Photo 2) Photographs and articles on the construction of Chunbukyo Churches in the Chunbukyo Weekly, dated December 25, 1956.
(Photo 3) The 18th regular concert of the Zion Chorus. The 1,500-member women’s choir gave its first domestic performance of Haydn’s Four Seasons (1-27-1986).
(Photo 4) Food Industrial Complex at the Faith Village overhung by a rainbow.
inauguration : 출범, 개통
look over : ~을 살펴보다
enshrine : 소중히 간직하다
hoarfrost : 흰 서리
surging : 밀려들다
numerous : 많은
altar : 제단
quadrupling : 네 배가 되다
Presbyterian : 장로교인
dedication service : 헌신예배
stately : 웅장한
Deaconess : 집사, 권사
go into something : ~하기 시작하다
materials : 자재
site : 현장, 장소
bricks : 벽돌
contribute : 기여하다
objecte : 반대하다
abate : 약해지다
Law of Liberty : 자유율법
daybreak service : 새벽예배
diligence : 성실
surpass : 능가하다
Civic Center: 시민회관
state : 말하다
unprecedented : 전례없는
utmost : 최고
enthusiastic : 열렬한
clapping : 박수
big time : 대성공
rehearsal : 리허설
brace : 대비하다
inadequate : 부족한
seamlessly : 균일하게
resonate : 울려 퍼지다
overhung : (overhang의 과거) 돌출하다
nestle : 자리잡다
narrative : 서술, 묘사
retrieve : 되찾다
thereabouts : 대략, 그 당시
yearn : 갈망하다
preoccupy : 사로잡힌
squander : 허비한
regretfully : 유감스럽게도
wept : (weep의 과거) 눈물을 흘리다
bitterly : 비통하게
recognized : 인식하다
gush out : 콸콸 흘러나오다
get hold of somebody : ~을 찾다
thrilled : 감격한
little by little : 조금씩
pledge : 맹세
The time God has been waiting for to announce Him
When we receive the grace of God, we keep away from sin
- ‘나도 성결함을 사모하게 됐어요’
- The power of the Water of Life, the water filled with the Holy Dew Spirit
- The mind lights up radiantly with the joy of Heaven.
- When we receive the grace of God, we keep away from sin
- Unleashing tsunamis, it was announced “The Olive Tree is God.”
- I was impressed by the remark, “Korea is a blessed country where the sun rises”
- The God of power who extinguishes sin
- “Do not sin in mind and thought,” I made it my life-time motto.
- The grace of the Holy Spirit coming down unchanged even now
- The time God has been waiting for to announce Him