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Rev. Dr. SamWhan Kim, Pastor Emeritus of World's Largest Presbyterian Church, To Give Charlotte Seminary Commencement Address

May 18, 2018

Rev. Dr. SamWhan Kim

Rev. Dr. SamWhan Kim

Charlotte, NC (May 15, 2018) –The Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Board of Trustees will confer 78 master’s degrees and 18 Doctor of Ministry degrees during commencement exercises at 11 a.m., May 19, at the Charlotte campus. Total degrees to be conferred at Gordon-Conwell’s four campuses in Charlotte, NC; Jacksonville; South Hamilton and Boston, MA, include 279 master’s degrees and 62 doctoral degrees.

Among the graduates from the Charlotte campus is VAL EXIS. Born and raised in Haiti, Val was baptized into the Catholic Church as a baby but did not actively practice any particular faith as a child. Val will soon have a Gordon-Conwell diploma in hand, and he continues to respond to God’s call, now serving as pastor at Nexus Church, a multi-cultural church in Charlotte’s NoDa arts community.

REV. DR. SAMWHAN KIM, founder and Pastor Emeritus of MyungSung Church, the world’s largest Presbyterian church, will give the Commencement address during Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary – Charlotte’s commencement exercises on Saturday, May 19, at 10:00 a.m. at Forest Hill Church (7224 Park Road – Charlotte).

Rev. Dr. Kim established MyungSung Church in Seoul, South Korea in 1980 and served as its Senior Pastor until becoming Pastor Emeritus in 2016. Under his leadership, the church grew to more than 100,000 adherents and helped launch dozens of other churches and humanitarian projects, include a medical center and college in Ethiopia. Dr. Kim has also been active in Korean reunification efforts and preparations toward that end.

Dr. Donald M. Fairbairn, Jr., Dean of the Charlotte Campus and the Robert E. Cooley Professor of Early Christianity says, “Christians throughout the world have long been inspired by the phenomenal growth of the church in South Korea, and by the fervency and devotion of Korean Christians. We are delighted to have world-renowned pastor, philanthropist, and leader Dr. SamWhan Kim with us at our commencement exercises.”

Dr. SeJin Koh, Director of International Studies and the Robert C. Cooley Center for the Study of Early Christianity, remarks, “Rev. SamWhan Kim is a spiritual giant but remains humble and always in good humor. Through his leadership and preaching, he has led a global movement for Christ and compassion; yet he still finds time to talk with individuals as one might do with a close friend. Rev. SamWhan Kim also has a profound appreciation and respect for the American church and, particularly, 19th century American missions efforts, which served as the catalyst for the Korean church’s growth and development.”

Interviews are available upon request. Please direct all inquiries to Deana Nail at (704) 564-8906 or dnail@gordonconwell.edu.

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary-Charlotte is a campus of the South Hamilton, MA, based Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, one of the largest seminaries in the nation. Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary is a multidenominational evangelical Protestant graduate school serving more than 2,000 students on campuses in South Hamilton and Boston, Massachusetts; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Jacksonville, Florida. Architects of the institution included Rev. Billy Graham; Dr. Harold John Ockenga, long-time pastor of Boston’s historic Park Street Church, and philanthropist J. Howard Pew. The Charlotte, North Carolina, campus opened in 1992 to serve students in the Southeast, and now attracts students from more than 30 states and more than a dozen foreign nations.

ABOUT REV. DR. SAMWHAN KIM, PASTOR EMERITUS, MYUNGSUNG CHURCH, SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

Rev. Dr. SamWhan Kim established MyungSung Church in Seoul, South Korea in 1980 and served as its Senior Pastor until becoming Pastor Emeritus in 2016. Under his leadership, the church grew to more than 100,000 adherents and helped launch dozens of other churches and humanitarian projects, include a medical center and college in Ethiopia.

A world-renowned religious leader, Rev. Dr. Kim has been an active leader in a large number of denominational and interdenominational efforts. He was the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Korea (Tonghap) and the President of the National Council of Churches in Korea. He currently serves as the President of the Korea World Missions Association.

A humanitarian, Rev. Dr. Kim has been involved in a number of compassion-based ministries. He is the founder of the MyungSung Christian Medical Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and sits on the board of hospitals, orphanages and prison ministries. Rev. Dr. Kim has also been active in Korean reunification efforts and preparations toward that end.

An educator, author and public speaker, Rev. Dr. Kim has also been active in education and media. He has served on the boards of more than 15 universities, seminaries, and other educational institutes, and was the Founder of the MyungSung Medical College in Ethiopia. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Pyeongtaek University. Rev. Dr. Kim also helped direct several broadcasting networks in Korea. In addition, he is the author of dozens of works.

Rev. Dr. Kim has received eight honorary doctorates and several national and international awards. Among others, he received the Magnolia Medal of the Republic of Korea, was awarded the Gold Medal of Greatest Honor by the government of Cambodia, and was bestowed the highest civilian honor by the government of Ethiopia for his medical and humanitarian efforts.

ABOUT VAL EXIS, FEATURED GRADUATING STUDENT

For Val Exis (M.DIV Pastoral Care and Counseling), one step across the stage at the Charlotte campus’ May 19 graduation ceremony represents a lifetime of God’s relentless pursuit. Born and raised in Haiti, Val was baptized into the Catholic Church as a baby but did not actively practice any particular faith as a child. At age 18, two years after moving to the US, Val felt an inward pull to go to church. One Sunday morning he stopped at a church, but ushers did not allow him to enter because the pastor had already begun preaching. Disappointed, Val returned home. Approximately two weeks later, a coworker invited Val to church. During the service, Val responded to the altar call, giving his life to Christ. Several years later God ignited Val’s passion for church planting when Val attended a conference in Ohio. As a keynote speaker focused on the global church, Val again felt that inward pull…this time to attend the seminary at which the speaker was an alumni. Within a few months, Val enrolled at Gordon-Conwell, the speaker’s alma mater. Val will soon have a diploma in hand, and he continues to respond to God’s relentless pursuit, now serving as pastor at Nexus Church, a multi-cultural church in Charlotte’s NoDa arts community.