Closing Down a Worship Service

Wherever a chaplain is assigned, in addition to his/her assigned duties, they are expected to also be involved in religious support to the garrison where they’re located. Often this means being part of one of the on-post worship services. This has been the case for me while in Yongsan, South Korea. I have been the pastor of the Traditional Protestant Congregation who worshiped at Memorial Chapel on Main Post, for the year that I’ve been in Korea.

Yongsan Traditional Protestant Service
The final group photo of the congregation taken on our last Sunday together as a congregation

I’ve mentioned before about the movement of U.S. forces from all over Korea to USAG Humphreys near Pyeongtek. This is beginning to impact religious support at USGA Yongsan as there are fewer chaplains to support the multiple worship services. Today (26 June 2016), this impact became real for the congregation I have been pastoring as we celebrated the final service of this congregation which has been active in Yongsan for over 25 years. Beginning next week, the attendees will begin attending one of the other remaining services on post.

Here are a few pictures of the final service and the fellowship brunch we enjoyed together at Greenstreet at Dragon Hill Lodge following the service.

Yongsan Traditional Protestant Service
Richard always opens our service with announcements and birthday/anniversary greetings.
Yongsan Traditional Protestant Service
Passing the Peace
Yongsan Traditional Protestant Service
The Scripture being read by one of the congregation members who has attended for 15 years.
Yongsan Traditional Protestant Service
The choir is unbelievable. The choir director is a paid contractor who studied in the U.S. Many choir members come just to work with him.
Yongsan Traditional Protestant Service
Dr. Rev. Lee studied in the U.S. and has been singing for the congregation for 10 years.
Yongsan Traditional Protestant Service
Our musician (at the piano) is also a paid contractor. She’s great on both the piano and the organ.
Yongsan Traditional Protestant Service
On this last Sunday, we celebrated Communion by Intinction.
Yongsan Traditional Protestant Service
The Parish Advisory Council (PAC) gave a gift to some of the congregation who volunteered in different capacities.
Yongsan Traditional Protestant Service
The mug the PAC gave chapel volunteers (and me).
Yongsan Traditional Protestant Service
Angel first came to Korea to fight in the Korean War. Since he’s been back (near the beginning of the congregation over 25 years ago) he has been serving the congregation in many ways.

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After the service we went to one of the restaurants at the Dragon Hill Lodge on post (Greenstreet) and enjoyed the Brunch Buffet:

IMG_20160626_112956360 IMG_20160626_113247220 IMG_20160626_114140634 IMG_20160626_114229882 IMG_20160626_114856648

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Yongsan Traditional Protestant Service
This couple has been part of the congregation for about 15 years. They’re there nearly every Sunday!
Yongsan Traditional Protestant Service
This couple has attended for about 10 years. The man was also a regular usher.

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Yongsan Traditional Protestant Service
The congregation gave me this plaque in appreciation for leading the congregation for the past year (I’ll replace the picture of the congregation with the one we took today).
Yongsan Traditional Protestant Service
I had these bookmarks made for everyone in attendance at our final service.

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Yongsan Traditional Protestant Service
I was surprised at how much the congregation touched me in just a year. Here’s the “farewell” letter I put in the bulletin.

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Here are some other pictures of Memorial Chapel where the Traditional Protestant  Congregation has worshiped for over 25 years:

Yongsan Memorial Chapel
Here’s an artist’s drawing of Memorial Chapel on USAG Yongsan

Yongsan Memorial Chapel

Yongsan Memorial Chapel

Yongsan Memorial Chapel

Yongsan Memorial Capel
The front of Memorial Chapel on USAG Yongsan

Here’s a short video showing the sanctuary changing from Catholic to Protestant worship

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BDE UMT Hail & Farewell

An Army tradition that nearly every officer and NCO is familiar with is the “Hail & Farewell.” Hail & Farewells”  are informal gatherings, often at a restaurant, where Soldiers new to the unit are hailed and Soldiers departing the unit are farewelled. Along with food, Hail and Farewells often include games of sorts or other fun activities. Units usually do them regularly, spaced to ensure everyone is hailed and/or farewelled as they come or before they go.

At most posts, installation Unit Ministry Teams (UMT) also have regular Hail & Farewells for Chaplains and Chaplain Assistants (and their families). Occasionally, brigade UMTs also have Hail & Farewells, though they’re needed less often.

My brigade has two chaplains, a KATUSA and myself preparing to leave so we had a BDE UMT Hail & Farewell. We wanted to include the families, but didn’t want it to be a stressful time for the parents, so reserved a picnic pavillion by the “Super Gym” at Camp Humphreys. Here are some pictures of our time together:

BDE Hail and Farewell
As the BDE chaplain, I took the opportunity to share my appreciation to the chaplains, chaplain assistants and family members for all they do.
Eric is one of the chaplains leaving. I gave as a farewell gift a mounted Beomjong, since a big part of what we did together as a BDE UMT was visit the Hwaseong Fortress, which features prominently one of these bells.
Eric is one of the chaplains leaving. I gave as a farewell gift a mounted Beomjong, since a big part of what we did together as a BDE UMT was visit the Hwaseong Fortress, which features prominently one of these bells. There was a plaque on it with his name, dates of service to the BDE and a message of appreciation.
BDE Hail and Farewell
I also gave a bell with plaque to Maya, who is also leaving soon.
BDE Hail and Farewell
The whole crew, though since Brian isn’t leaving soon, he didn’t get a bell!
BDE Hail and Farewell
On the left is a bell like the one I gave my chaplains. On the right is the one they gave me. The small pink spoon tied to the left column is from Baskin Robbins. They did that because my custom on our Suwon trips was to get a Strawberry Blast.
Chaplain Corps Crest
I also gave a vintage Chaplain Corps crest to each of my chaplains.
BDE Hail and Farewell
Brian and Amiee brought smoked brisket they prepared themselves. Delicious!
BDE Hail and Farewell
Each family brought something good, which was tough for those who are leaving, with few dishes and dwindling foodstuffs!
BDE Hail and Farewell
Brian and Chris were ready with a tune!
BDE Hail and Farewell
Here’s the BDE Unit Ministry Team, chaplains, chaplain assistants and KATUSAs (though my KATUSA is missing).
BDE Hail and Farewell
Here we all are, families and all (though my family is back in the States).

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Office Space

I’ve finally about got my office set up for my stay in Korea. I’ve unpacked my books, arranged my furniture and desk and hung some pictures. It’s a good space. The Unit Ministry Team (Chaplain & Chaplain Assistant, and in Korea a KATUSA) actually has a suite because of the work that we do. There’s a comfortable place for a few people to sit, along with books and Bibles they can take with them. The chaplain assistant has an office while the KATUSA has a desk by the door, kind of like a “receptionist.” Then I have my office for work, study and counselling.  We try to make it an inviting place.

My office has a window which opens to a school. Most every day I hear the children out playing on the playground…sure, I won’t miss my kids! But it is actually nice to hear cheerful noises rather than what the military often offers!

Here are a few pictures:

Building 6000
Here’s our brigade headquarters from Google Maps. (I’m surprised I haven’t taken a picture of it yet!) It’s a big 6-story building that I heard use to be a jail though I don’t know if that’s true or not.
Building 6000
Our building has quite a view from the roof. Of course, this isn’t one of the good ones but of some of the post.
Brigade UMT office-meeting room
Here’s are “meeting room.” Very comfortable couches and lots of give-a-way books and Bibles. (That black office chair in the corner is trash, they just haven’t taken it out yet. Please overlook it!)
Brigade UMT Office-Chaplain Assistant
This is the chaplain assistant’s office, just as you walk in our door.
Brigade UMT office-KATUSA
Just inside our main door and to the left is our KATUSA’s desk. My office is just beyond.
Brigade UMT office-chaplain's desk
My office. The mess on the desk is evidence of a busy day!
Brigade UMT office-library
It’s nice to have a few of my books with me!
Brigade UMT office-seating
And, a place to sit with Soldiers and either visit or counsel. On the walls are pictures I had enlarged of worship and chaplain ministry during the Korean War.

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