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Korea, Methodist Church

God, who precedes all human planning, so loved this calm land of the East that he sent a number of mission pioneers to proclaim the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. They were filled with the passion for saving the soul of Korean people and the Korean society. The first Methodist missionary was R. S. Maclay, of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Japan. He visited Korea on 24 June 1884 and obtained permission from King Kojong to do God‟s work in the field of „education and medical treatment‟. On Easter Sunday, April 5, 1885, Rev. H. G. Appenzeller, with H. G. Underwood, a Presbyterian missionary, arrived in Korea to “bring the Korean people to the light and liberty of God‟s children.” One month later W. B. Scranton, another American missionary, came to Korea with his mother, Mrs. Scranton. Soon H. G. Appenzeller and Mrs. W.P. Scranton founded schools and hospitals. In October 1895 the Methodist Episcopal Church South also began missionary work. Bishop E. R. Hendrix and Dr. C. F. Reid who had been working in China, entered Korea by the efforts of a Korean scholar, Yoon, Chi-Ho who became the first member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South during his stay in China. The Southern Methodist Church was especially interested in missionary work for women and sent Mrs. Campbell to Korea two years later.
From the beginning the Methodist Church made a great contribution to the development and modernization of Korean society by its active involvement in education, medical treatment and publication. A revival movement which occurred in Wonsan in 1903 and another in Pyongyang in 1907 became milestones of the explosive growth of the church. In 1930 the Methodist Episcopal Church North and the Methodist Episcopal Church South were united for form the independent Korean Methodist Church.
After World War II, the Korean Church was divided for a few years, but reunited in 1949. During the Korean War beginning in 1950, the Korean Church went through hardships with church leaders being kidnapped or executed and many church buildings destroyed. Since that time, the Korean Methodist Church has grown rapidly with a spiritual passion for lost souls of the Korean people. It has also promoted social reformation, human rights and mission work among urban laborers and farmers.
The Korean Methodist Church is committed to the task of evangelism and the realization of peace and justice in the world, and sends missionaries to other countries to share the Gospel. In the Korean Methodist Church there are 5,692 Churches, 8,415 ministers, and 1,508,430 members.