The Lodi United Methodist Church has been offering a warm welcome to their newest pastor, a new face whose eyes are set on the future.
PyungAhn “Peace” Kim joined the church in July after taking over for pastor Marge Rice Myers, who retired this year. Kim grew up in South Korea and has been in Wisconsin since 2013.
“The beauty of this area is something attractive and also well known to the people in Wisconsin,” Kim said. “My congregation, Lodi United Methodist Church, has been known as sound, healthy, in my annual conference. In that way, it is an honor to be a pastor of this congregation in their over 100 years of history.”
Kim said it has been a blessing to be welcomed by this congregation. Through family dinners and Sunday talks, he’s been working to get to know the members of the church more and is looking forward to his time in Lodi.
He’s previously led congregations in Elroy and Wonewoc United Methodist Churches. He received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea, as well as a Master of Theology with a focus on missiology from the United Graduate School of Theology in Yonsei University in Seoul.
Kim made his way to the U.S. to get his Master of Divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. before heading north to finish his ordination. He’s joined in the City of Lodi with his wife Jongjin, his daughter Claire and his son Clay.
While he now leads the United Methodist congregation here in Lodi, Kim wasn’t always a Methodist. In South Korea, he grew up in a nondenominational church and was without a denomination throughout college.
“I felt kind of, not orphaned, but different than most Korean pastors,” he said. “Most different from my peers who wanted to become pastors in Korean church. They grew up in a denomination church and studied the philosophy, theology as part of their college education.”
In order to start his Master of Divinity program, he needed to be affiliated with a denomination. That’s when he came across an exchange professor in Seoul who introduced him to the United Methodist Church.
Kim said he found himself attracted to the United Methodist Church because of its missional theology. The church is often finding new ways throughout the year to help the community or those in need.
“We wanted to practice our faith, not just in our church but in our society,” he said. “In that way, I truly believe the United Methodist Church would give me the greatest help to continue to grow as a Christian, not as a pastor.”
Kim said he considers himself a young clergy, and he wants to do ministry that is relevant to contemporary, everyday people. He said he’s looking for ways to be innovative and creative during his service.
As he leads the future of the church, Kim said he’s hoping to add “vitality to the life of the church”. He also plans to continue to be a missional church to give members the opportunity to “make their faith more tangible and practical.”
“I truly believe my denomination’s theology and ways of practicing theology will help everyone who wanted to be serious about their faith to continue to grow,” Kim said. “And to continue to live out their faith in every act of their lives.”