Korean Anabaptist Center
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|Korean Anabaptist Center|
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Korea Anabaptist Center (KAC) is an Anabaptist theology and ministry resource center located in Chuncheon, South Korea. KAC was founded in Seoul in November 2001 through partnerships between Jesus Village Church (JVC: the first Anabaptist congregation in Korea), Mennonite Church-Canada Witness and Mennonite Mission Network. The original vision for KAC included sending North American Mennonites to Korea to aid in introducing the Anabaptist story to the broader Korean church and society. Currently, KAC has over 400 individuals (from Korea, Canada, Chile, England, the U.S.A. and others) on its list of friends. KAC provides resources, education, service opportunities, and networking among Anabaptist churches, interest groups, communities and organizations. 
When Jesus Village Church (JVC) was founded in 1996, Korean Christians struggled to feel satisfied with the conventional church model and soon became disenchanted with the Korean church in its recent forms. This dissatisfaction sparked several years of home studies in which they read and studied various books, among them, William Estep's “The Anabaptist Story” and Paul Stevens “Liberating the Laity.” Soon enough, Pastor Yoon-Shik Lee joined the group in their study and interest in Christian community. Upon conversing with another pastor, Lee-Bong Kim, Yoon-Shik was directed towards the theology of the Mennonites and the broader Anabaptist churches. It was out of these conversations and in light of Korean emphases on education that KAC was born as a center for studying the Anabaptist story and introducing it into Korean society. 
In the years between 1996 and 2001, several North American missionaries were sent to Korea to help with KAC's beginnings. Coming from Canada, Tim and Karen Froese and their family traveled to Korea to aid in the process of envisioning KAC (which at that time was still referred to as the “Anabaptist Research Institute”). A recent Korean graduate of Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC) in Winnipeg, Kyong-Jung Kim, returned to South Korea to join Tim in this work. Amidst interviews and conversations with Korean Christians, Kyong-Jung and Tim found that much of what drew people to Anabaptism came through themes of discipleship, community and peace among individuals, organizations and churches. They sensed a calling to develop a program providing education, resources (library, publications, etc.), service opportunities, and networking (to connect with Koreans and other Anabaptists around the world). This institute and program became KAC.  
Since its beginning, KAC has grown into a multi-faceted ministry that continues to “share the life of the Kingdom of God and its values from an Anabaptist perspective on discipleship, peace, and community within the Korean church and society.” The KAC mission statement reads that “The Korea Anabaptist Center works with individuals, groups and churches to actively participate in the mission of God by cultivating biblical discipleship, peace and Christian community, and by developing and providing resources, education, training and relationships in the Anabaptist faith tradition.”  Living out this vision, KAC offers various educational programs and opportunities for community-building within Korea and in the wider church. Some of these programs and initiatives include the Connexus English language school (which has since separated from official association with KAC), a publishing arm, local and international conflict resolution training workshops, Victim-Offender reconciliation programs, and lectures from visiting Anabaptists from the global church. KAC also assisted in the creation of the Korea Anabaptist Mission Fellowship (KAMF) which brings together Anabaptist Christians involved in Korean ministries (and led to the church plant of Grace and Peace Mennonite Church in Seoul in 2007).  
 Connection to the broader church
According to current KAC director, Kyong-Jung Kim, in some ways the story of Korean Anabaptism and the experiences of Korean Anabaptists have been very similar to that of the early Anabaptist movement. Despite Anabaptism being a distinct theological minority, church members have been grounded in zeal, passion and vision for church renewal and dedicated to communal church ministries. In contrast to the early Anabaptists, Korean Anabaptists struggle with many of the same issues that today permeate Christian communities around the world; individualism, capitalism, materialism, polarizations, and the existence of weapons of mass destruction, among others. KAC attempts to pull together these realities of Anabaptist tradition through expanding their library, continuing work at translating and publishing Anabaptist documents in Korean, and hosting open dialogues between church leaders, seminary students, NGO workers, volunteers, and other individuals and groups. 
Although KAC and the Anabaptist community in South Korea continue to grow, as a fairly recent Anabaptist organization in a country with very few Anabaptist churches, KAC struggles with finding support and participation from the community. It is also faced with the challenge of internal conflict among its members and member churches, yet like all new groups, KAC is continually seeking unity and collaboration.
As with many if not all Anabaptist groups, KAC struggles with being a part of a minority group in the wider Korean society.  Another aspect of this challenge is the current situation for conscientious objectors in Korea. Because of mandatory military service for all male citizens, conscientious objection is not an easy option for any Koreans. Since the beginning years of the Korean Mennonite Churches, there has only been one conscientious objector and he has since been imprisoned for his convictions. See article below about recent prison sentence for the first Anabaptist CO in South Korea, Sangmin Lee. 
 Visions for the Future
When looking to the future, leaders and members of KAC hope to contribute to the creation of a variety of Anabaptist related programs and educational networks. Some of these include:
− Anabaptist educational institute for Korea, Northeast Asia, and Asia
− Anabaptist Material Resource Center: bringing together church members to work towards common goals and interests
− Anabaptist peace center for North Korean refugees and reunification
− Other Anabaptist international church communities aimed towards mission-oriented activities in both urban and rural settings
KAC members also hope for the expanded recognition of Anabaptism throughout the Korean church, inclusion of Korean Anabaptist-Mennonite stories in Korean church history books, growing understandings of peace issues within conflict resolution and reunification processes, and appreciation for Anabaptist values of restorative justice, an ethic of love, discipleship, and community. 
2001 KAC opens in Seoul (on November 2nd); the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective is published in Korean; KAC starts up its website (www.kac.or.kr) 2002 KAC Library is organized and set up; Victim and Offender Mediation Program started at Soongsil University; IVEP program established; KAC becomes Korean distributor for Herald Press books 2003 Korean volunteer visits Iraq before, during and after US invasion; Continued peace education workshops and trainings; SALT/IVEP programs established through MCC; Korea Anabaptist Press (KAP) registered; Beginning series of Mennonite scholars and guest teachers visiting each year 2004 AMC (Asia Mennonite Conference) executive committee gathering in Korea; English language institute, Connexus, is started 2006 Asia Anabaptist Discipleship Training Program (AADT) formed in Korea; Korean Anabaptist Mission Fellowship (KAMF) formed; Korea Anabaptist Fellowship in Canada (KAFC) meets for the first time in Winnipeg 2009 North East Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI) beginnings 2011 KAC and Connexus separate; KAC moves to Chuncheon 2012 Asia Anabaptist Diakonia Conference in Salatiga, Indonesia; MCC Korea Reunion in Korea 2013 Bock Ki Kim and Sook Kyoung Park work with KAC and KAF as Witness workers; Japanese PAX team exchange visits; MCC Korean history research project; Guest House building project begins; World Council of Churches assembly in South Korea; Mennonite World Conference representatives visit 2014 Kyong-Jung Kim started work as MWC Northeast Asia Representative; Sangmin Lee sent to prison for conscientious objection to joining the military; Work to activate world-wide support network for Korean COs; Global Anabaptist Profile created for KAF member churches; KAC, MCC and JHC (Jesus Heart Church) share office space; “Just Peace” conference in East Asia
 Important Individuals in the Life of the Church
Kyong-Jung Kim - founder and director of KAC
Jae Young Lee - founder and director of Connexus and NARPI
Tim Froese and family - founder and long-term missionary from Canada
Cheryl Woelk - long-term missionary and teacher
Daniel Ahn - early visionary and KAC board
Sung-Do Cha - early visionary
Chris and Laura Mullet Koop - Canadian missionaries from 1996-1998 (JVC and ASK)
Erwin and Marian Wiens - Canadian missionaries
Sheldon Sawatzky - Mennonite Mission Network Director for East Asia (1997-2008)
Gordon Janzen - Mennonite Church Canada Director for Asia
John F. Lapp - Mennonite Mission Network Director for Asia (2008-present) 
 Electronic Resources
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 Key Documents
Interviews through Email Correspondence
Tim Froese (7 November 2014) - Froese was one of the long-term Canadian missionaries and founding members of KAC. He and his family lived in South Korea and worked at KAC from 1998-2006.
Kyong-Jung Kim (5 December 2014) - Kim was one of the founding members of KAC and he is the current director of KAC.
John F. Lapp (9 December 2014) - Lapp has been the MMN Director for Asia since 2008 and has worked closelywith both Kim and Froese and the Korean Anabaptist Churches.
Printed Resources from the Mennonite Historical Library, Goshen College, IN
Lapp, John and Tim Foley. “East Asia.” 2010 Working Reports, Mennonite Mission Network. 89-90.
Kim, Kyong-Jung. “Anabaptism in Korea.” In Churches Engage Asian Traditions, ed. John A. Lapp and C. Arnold Snyder. 311-314. Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2011. Print.
Korea Anabaptist Center. Serving Love. [Brochure].
Sawatsky, Sheldon. “East Asia.” 2005 Working Reports, Mennonite Mission Network. 31-41.
Sawatsky, Sheldon. “East Asia.” 2007 Working Reports, Mennonite Mission Network. 41-63.
Hollinger-Janzen, Lynda. “Korea Anabaptist Centre promotes peace in anxious climate.” Mennonite Church Canada News Releases, 10 February 2003. http://www.mennonitechurch.ca/news/releases/2003/02/korea.htm (Accessed 10 December 2014).
Korea Anabaptist Center. http://en.kac.or.kr/ (Accessed 10 December 2014).
Miller, Elizabeth. “Following Jesus into Prison.” The Mennonite 17, no. 10 (October 2014). https://themennonite.org/issue/sang-min-lee-following-jesus-prison/ (Accessed 10 December 2014).
 Archives and Libraries
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 External Links
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1 Korea Anabaptist Center, http://en.kac.or.kr/ (Accessed 9 December 2014).
2 Tim Froese, Email correspondence with Eva Lapp (7 November 2014).
3 Tim Froese, Email correspondence with Eva Lapp (7 November 2014).
4 “About KAC: Background,” Korea Anabaptist Center, http://en.kac.or.kr/about-kac (Accessed 9 December 2014).
5 Kyong-Jung Kim, Email correspondence with Eva Lapp (5 December 2014).
6 “About KAC: Anabaptism in Korea,” Korea Anabaptist Center, http://en.kac.or.kr/about-kac/anabaptism_story (Accessed 9 December 2014).
7 Kyong-Jung Kim, “Anabaptism in Korea,” in Churches Engage Asian Traditions, ed. John A. Lapp and C. Arnold Snyder (Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2011), 311-314.
8 Kyong-Jung Kim, Email correspondence with Eva Lapp (5 December 2014).
9 Kyong-Jung Kim, Email correspondence with Eva Lapp (5 December 2014).
10 Elizabeth Miller, “Following Jesus into Prison,” The Mennonite 17, no. 10 (October 2014), https://themennonite.org/issue/sang-min-lee-following-jesus-prison/ (Accessed 10 December 2014).
11 Kyong-Jung Kim, Email correspondence with Eva Lapp (5 December 2014).
12 Kyong-Jung Kim (5 December 2014) and Tim Froese (7 November 2014), Email correspondence with Eva Lapp.
13 Kyong-Jung Kim (5 December 2014), Tim Froese (7 November 2014), and John F. Lapp (9 December 2014), Email correspondence with Eva Lapp.