Hyo-Won Park, United Methodist Missionary to Russia Coming to People's Church
This Sunday, we are honored to welcome Pastor Hyo-Won Park to People's Church as he shares his story of living as a United Methodist Missionary in Russia.
Hyo-Won Park is a missionary with the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries serving as a new church planter in St. Petersburg, Russia. He was commissioned in June 2013. Familiar with the area from time previously spent there, Rev. Park is working with the leadership of the St. Petersburg District in identifying
opportunities for new congregations. Methodism returned to St. Petersburg, where it had existed prior to the Communist Revolution, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union almost 25 years ago. Likely constituents for new churches are the young people who come to the city looking for jobs and educational opportunities.
Hyo-Won Park is a clergy member of the Wisconsin Conference. He is a native of Seoul, Korea, where he earned his degree in theology from Methodist Theological University in 1980. He served as a small church pastor and also as a military chaplain in a mountainous area in the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) separating North and South Korea.
After being discharged from the military, he studied in Germany. From Germany, he went to Russia on behalf of the Korea Methodist Church and engaged in mission work in St. Petersburg. After five years, he was invited to take a pastoral charge in the Wisconsin Conference in the United States. He also served as a pastor in San Francisco.
Hyo-Won grew up in a Christian home and felt an early call to mission, which he says has been expressed in all of his ministries. “During high school,” he says, “I met a very sincere Sunday school teacher who helped me devote myself to the church. It was the first turning point in my life.
Rev. Park has one adult son, Saerom Park.
Pastor Jason visited Pastor Park's new church in St. Petersburg this past May with Bishop Jung and a small delegation from Wisconsin. The group was looking to renew an old relationship between United Methodists in Wisconsin and Russia. Jason was amazed and inspired by the passion, energy, and joy exhibited by the people in Pastor Park's new congregation.
People's Church has entered into a sister relationship with this new Russian church, which means we have pledged to pray for one another, build relationships between our two congregations, and explore how God is calling us to be in ministry together. We are also hoping to have members of our church travel to St. Petersburg next year.
Sugar River United Methodist Church in Verona and Mount Horeb United Methodist Church have also entered into sister relationships with churches in Russia.