New Hampshire District welcomes new superintendent
September 12, 2017
At his Sept. 9, 2017 installation service, New Hampshire District Superintendent Taesung Kang recalled his experience seeing the total eclipse while he was in North Carolina for DS training.
“What do you see?” was the question he was asked over and over by those who didn’t have their own eclipse glasses.
And it’s a question Rev. Kang realized he had been considering for some time – particularly when he was asked to be a District Superintendent.
“I believe that the Holy Spirit wanted me to see myself through God’s eyes and to be honest with God,” he told those gathered at Plymouth UMC on Saturday afternoon. “I felt like the Holy Spirit was asking me the same question, ‘What do you see?’”
The answer to that question is important, Rev. Kang said.
“What do you see? What makes your heart move and what breaks your heart, that is where your call is,” he said. “The difficult part is knowing where to start and how to keep pursuing and seeking after God’s own heart.”
To help, Rev. Kang offered the New Hampshire District a “sticky note” as a reminder of some steps to take.
First, he said, “Be Still.” He asked the district to join in a 5.5.5. Prayer: To pray “for our district; our pastors, our churches, and our concerns” on the fifth day of the week, Friday, at 5 p.m. for five minutes.
“Being in the stillness with God, we can see who we are and whom we are serving,” Rev. Kang said.
Second, he said, “Get Ready.”
“I would like to see more holistic small groups in our churches and district,” Rev. Kang said. “I believe that the real transformation happens in authentic small group dynamics. In order to realize that we are not alone in this battle, we need to be in our support groups, and create more small groups.”
“Third, I want to invite us to commit ourselves to the very core of the church, for us to become no less than a 100 percent missional church (‘Go Out’),” Rev. Kang said.
Rev. Kang was commissioned as a missionary to the U.S. in 2001.
“But I am not the only one,” he said. “We all are disciples of Jesus Christ and are called to be sent out. In that sense, we are all missionaries in the place where we already are. Let us recommit ourselves to the missional work of a connectional church.”
Rev. Kang comes from a clergy family, and was ordained in the Korean Methodist Church. He came to New England from the North Carolina Conference.
In his introduction, Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar said: “No matter which continent or conference Taesung has served and ministered, he has a proven track record of growing churches and being appreciated by his parishioners as a dynamic Bible study teacher and one who always thinks outside the box.”
The bishop commended Rev. Kang for his willingness “to speak the truth with love” and advocate for the marginalized.
“He’s a pastor with passion for youth and children’s programs and innovative new ministries,” the bishop said. “He has also provided leadership on district and conference committees, and clearly understands the blessings of our United Methodist connection.”
“Most importantly,” Bishop Devadhar said. “Taesung leads from the Spirit with a passion for servant leadership … .”
In welcoming his colleague to the Cabinet, Rev. Rene Perez, Cabinet Dean and Superintendent of the Central Massachusetts District, offered some advice:
You will never receive everyone’s approval, but you will have God’s grace.
You will make mistakes more often that you would like, but you will have God’s grace.
There will be days when you will wonder, ‘what on earth was I thinking?’ But you will have God’s grace.
There will also be days when God’s hope will be so strong in your heart that you will not be able to deny it is God who called you to this ministry. Hold on to that!
Hold on to the good memories, let go of the bad ones, learn from all of them.
“At every step of the way, remember, that God’s grace is always enough. As your friends and colleagues in cabinet, we will be there for you,” Rev. Perez said. “Welcome to the work of superintending and the Cabinet of the New England Conference.”
As is traditional, clergy and laity in the district presented their new superintendent with the signs of the office: a Bible, water, bread and cup, a hymnal and a Book of Worship, towel and basin, a stole, a Book of Discipline, a globe and as a symbol of the district, a piece of granite shaped like New Hampshire (the Granite State).
The service was followed by a reception to welcome Rev. Kang, his wife, Mina, and their youngest daughter Julie, a high school junior. The couple has two college-age children, Andrew and Kat.