Courage and Commitment Mark Korean Work

Our thanks to Roger Sohn, from whose historical sketch most of the following information was taken.

As the Korean Central Church (Auburn, Wash.) prepares to occupy the first phase of its new sanctuary and fellowship hall/gymnasium, its members look back with amazement on God’s providential leading.

It all started back in 1979, when a group of Korean Adventists gathered in the Renton (Wash.) Church’s youth chapel. They look back with fondness and gratitude on Judson Shepard, pastor, and his congregation for their wonderful hosting. Eventually outgrowing this site, the Korean congregation began renting Sabbath space at St. Andrews' Lutheran Church in Bellevue. But the special challenges of renting compelled the church board to look toward purchasing a house in Kent and developing it into a church.

A couple of challenges immediately arose. First, the Kent location was really too far south for members living in Seattle's North End. Also, the congregation’s tithe level didn’t qualify them for a North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) revolving fund loan, so the board permitted a member to buy the property with a private loan.

But this was in 1981, the year of history’s highest interest rates, and the church was obliged to borrow $117,000 at 16.25%. Fortunately, due to rent paid by both an onsite day care center and a Sunday congregation, they were able to meet the monthly mortgage payments. And when conference treasurer Roy Wesson was made aware of the situation, he quickly arranged a special loan from the NPUC at 7.5% interest, which helped the members pay off the balance far more quickly.

Loyal, supportive Bellevue, Bothell and Lynnwood members traveled the miles to Kent each Sabbath. But with the planting of a North End congregation in the late 1980s, the pressure to be central to everybody was somewhat lessened, and in 1988 the Korean Central Church purchased property in Auburn. In 1992, after paying off the remaining loan, they moved the congregation to the new location, and Lenard Jaecks, Washington Conference president, and other officers presided at the dedication service on Oct. 18, 1993.

“I thank God and praise Him,” says lay leader Roger Sohn, “for His goodness in providing for His people. I have been elated to see our brothers and sisters united and determined to take on these projects with the help of God. I am praying that His challenge ‘Be strong and courageous’ will energize each one of us to stand firm and carry through until His sanctuary is completed.”

January 01, 2004 / Washington Conference