Migration old and new: accepting diversity in creating a Catholic community in Youngnak Presbyterian Church
Ha, Chung Yoube
This thesis examines the attempts of the Christian Wolnammin and Christian Saeteomin to construct a catholic community within Younghak Presbyterian Church, Seoul. Both groups come from the same region in the Northern territory, yet have different identities based on the fact that their exodus to South Korea took place during different periods of the last half century. Both before and since their arrival in South Korea around 60 years ago, Christian Wolnammin were socialized in the context of a deep-rooted anti-Communist ideology. In sharp contrast, recent Christian Saeteomin were socialized by Juche (self-reliance) ideology (the official government ideology of North Korea) prior to leaving North Korea in the last decade. The contrasting ideologies cause tension and even hostility between the groups in Youngnak Presbyterian Church, posing significant difficulties for creating a space for mutual fellowship and respect. Members of the two groups did not perceive the extent of differences between them until they met each other in the church. Prior to coming together, both communities desired unification, including the sharing of what they assumed was an ethnically homogeneous identity. The serious misinterpretation of symbols and behaviour patterns caused disappointment and tension. Consequently, examples of exclusion began to emerge in Youngnak Presbyterian Church, with at least some Christian Saeteomin wanting to return home. The present study is a response to their difficulties. It locates, describes and analyses the conflicts, reflects on the place of ideology in Christian practice evident in Youngnak Presbyterian Church, and outlines a route towards a practical and prophetic resolution based on the theological concept of reconciliation and embrace.