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Grace Kim, a ‘light of the church,’ celebrates retirement

Longtime pastor, educator, and translator is honored as she concludes her service with the Presbyterian Mission Agency

by Emily Enders Odom | Presbyterian News Service

PORTLAND – The Rev. Grace Choon Kim, who has served the PC(USA) for some 34 years—over 25 of those as associate for Korean Curriculum and Resource Development for the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA)—was celebrated at a retirement party here on June 22 by her friends, family, and ministry colleagues who are in Portland for the 222nd General Assembly (2016).

Mark Hinds and Grace Kim. Photo by Emily Enders Odom.

Mark Hinds and Grace Kim. Photo by Emily Enders Odom.

“As you know, Grace is one of the lights of our church,” said Mark Hinds, Ed.D., publisher for the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Congregational Ministries Publishing (CMP). “You’re named well. The name you’ve chosen, Grace, is a sign and symbol of who you are, of your witness, of your commitment to your ministry, and your commitment to the church. You inspire me, and I know you inspire us all.”

Kim, a teaching elder and certified Christian educator, received her M.A. in Christian education from Columbia Theological Seminary and her M.Div from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She did pioneering ministry for the development of Bible study and discipleship training resources for Korean immigrant congregations, such as Korean Present Word, Kuyuk and Family Community, and To Be a Faithful Servant. She has also been instrumental in the Korean translation of CMP’s Being Reformed series. She has been engaged in numerous educational leadership trainings and consultations in partnership with the National Council of Korean Presbyterian Churches (NCKPC) and the Coordinating Committee for Korean American Presbyteries (CCKAP).

“It is unbelievable that I am retiring and leaving you, my friends and colleagues,” Kim told the gathering. “I would like to express my deepest gratitude to God for giving me this wonderful opportunity to serve the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). I dearly appreciate my beloved colleagues who support me. I will miss you, but I will cherish all our time together in my heart. I have experienced God’s grace with gratitude because of you.”

CMP’s Marissa Galvan-Valle leads in the laying on of hands. Photo by Emily Enders Odom.

CMP’s Marissa Galvan-Valle leads in the laying on of hands. Photo by Emily Enders Odom.

As tears flowed, gifts were received, prayers were spoken, hands laid on, and cake was served, Hinds assured those gathered that—even in the light of recent budget cuts and staff reductions—the PMA has made a commitment to continue the work of the Korean Curriculum and Resource Development office.

“We have the commitment from the leadership of the PMA that your office will continue,” said Hinds. “We have already opened the search for not someone to replace you because we cannot replace you, but someone to continue the good work you have begun.”

Hinds also announced that an Extra Commitment Opportunity (ECO #868801) has been set up with the PMA to honor Kim and her ministry by prolonging and sustaining the Korean language curriculum office.
“We’re asking our constituencies to consider a gift to her ECO,” said Hinds. “So take a card and encourage your friends and loved ones to make a gift.”

Kim’s husband, the Rev. Sun Bai Kim, is also retiring after nearly 40 years of service—first as a pastor and then as the PMA’s associate for Korean ministries—with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The two plan to remain in Louisville and spend more time with their grandchildren.


Checks to honor Grace Kim’s ministry may be mailed to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700. Please include ECO #868801 on the memo line.

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