Shamaine Chambers King, Candidate for Vice-Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

In an attempt to help folks get to know the candidates for Moderator of the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), I have asked the Moderatorial and Vice-Moderatorial Candidates a few questions. You can find links to all of their responses HERE and you can follow most of the candidates on Twitter HERE. Thanks for taking the time to read their responses and please feel free to share this with friends, leave a comment or ask a question.

CANDIDATE FOR  VICE- MODERATOR w/Randy Branson
Shamaine Chambers King –  Teaching Elder, Des Moines Presbytery
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A snippet from Shamaine’s responses in the 2012 Moderatorial Handbook:

She loves ministry and is excited to be part of what God is doing in the church and in the world. Although uncertain what the future will hold, she is confident that God has a plan for the church and expectantly watches for the Spirit’s leading. Her congregation’s story, along with many other experiences of grace, give her great hope that the church can faithfully follow Christ’s call to love God, care for our neighbors, share the good news, make disciples and be witnesses.

Knowing that being Moderator/Vice-Moderator will require a great deal of time and energy from you and your community, why give in this way to the Presbyterian Church (USA)?

Our denomination is in such an interesting and precarious place—striving to be faithful and declining in numbers. Angry and hurt, we are struggling, splintering and doing amazing mission and ministry in an atmosphere of mistrust and fear.

I like Randy’s history of seeking relationship with those with whom he disagrees and his commitment to creating strong, healthy churches. To moderate is to preside over. It can also mean to make less extreme. This suits me. I usually find myself somewhere in the middle. When I look down the Paul’s list of gifts, I would like to pick something flashier but I am a peacemaker. I understand both sides of both sides. It might not be the gift I would chose, but it is the gift God gave me and right now we need some peace.

In the current arguments, I have good friends on both sides. We are tearing ourselves apart while trying to be obedient to scripture. I want us to listen to each other and put our time, talents and treasures to work as witnesses for Christ. It may be naive and simplistic, but I believe the Spirit can work in us to find common ground, trust each other, follow Jesus, and build the kingdom.

God is at work in our church and there are great things in our future. I am willing to stand for Vice-Moderator because I think the PC(USA) is a great way of being church. I am willing to give two years to celebrate what we are doing well and challenge us to make peace and do better by God’s church.

If someone were to ask you, “Why should I bother going to church?” how would you respond?

The first thing I’d ask an un or de-churched person is why they are asking the question. If I can understand whatever hurt, pain, confusion, or apathy they carry, we can find common ground. I like to share the cause of my joy and hope, that following Jesus gives my life meaning and purpose. I might also share my own frustrations with the church. The church is made up of people and that means that we get it wrong, more often than not. It is far from perfect but God choses to work through us. The flawed and broken people are also the best thing about church. Belonging to a community of faith can hold you up when life is falling apart.

Sometimes people have been so hurt they can’t think of going to a church. It is easy to confuse faith and religion. We don’t have to go to church to follow Jesus, but we can’t do it alone either. Jesus said that wherever two or more were gathered in his name, he was there also. Church is more than a building or a bunch of people. There are lots of ways of being church. The important thing is to gather with at least one other person to share the journey, hold you accountable, pray and study God’s word together. As you grow in faith and knowledge of God, you are drawn into relationship with others for worship, prayer, fellowship, study and service. My offer is to begin the journey with them or to help them find someone to walk with them because it God intends for us to be in life-giving community.

Choose one item of business or issue that will be coming up at General Assembly and share your perspective.

Worship is the most important item of business before the GA. When we debate issues, we focus on what divides us. We can easily confuse intellectual prowess and powers of persuasion with our calling as God’s people. Worship reminds us who we are, whose we are and why we have been called together. We celebrate our common mission and ministries; recognize our sin and our unity; respond to God’s call to love and forgive; and become the church set loose by the Spirit on the world. In worship, our differences dissolve as we sing God’s praise in a common language of love and feast together at God’s table.

We live in a fallen world. On this side of Eden, our perspectives and decisions are flawed. My hope for GA is that the Holy Spirit will move in such a way that our work together is a witness to God’s grace and glory not just another story for the newspapers about the debates of a denomination.

Our system is damaged. Those who shout their opinions the loudest, or argue the best, are heard. The majority isn’t always right. We need to listen so we can trust those with whom we disagree. We need new ways of doing the business of the church, ways that celebrate all the amazing things that God is doing in the world. So whatever business comes before the assembly, my prayer is that we share our perspectives as those focused on Christ, who have gathered, prayed, sung, confessed, heard God’s word, offered ourselves, broken bread and been sent out in love.

What are a few things that most people would never guess about you: interests, adventures or . . .?

  • Although I love being a wife, mom and pastor, most people would find my life pretty boring.
  • I love eating local, cheap, ethnic, and spicy. I can eat almost any kind of hot pepper.
  • Growing up, I was Presbyterian, primitive Baptist and Assembly of God before choosing to be confirmed in the Presbyterian church.
  • My grandmother was Chickasaw and a flapper dancer with her sister in Chicago in the 1920’s.
  • Someday, I hope to backpack one (or all) of the three US North-South trails (Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide or Pacific Crest) and ride my bike coast to coast.

WILD CARD: Answer any question you want, one that someone has yet to ask or choose from some that have been asked here: http://bit.ly/KwiN07

In 2007 I was called to a church that had recently split over many of the same issues currently facing the PCUSA. By focusing on the basics—worship, knowledge of God’s word and fellowship—they have healed and grown. Our budget reflects a commitment to mission. Discipleship and outreach are top priorities for our future. Growing together in faith is slow and steady work but the Sprit is moving which gives me hope for the larger church. When we stop fighting—however that happens—God can begin to work. It may be slow. It may be small. It will not look like it does now. It will involve angst and grief. But God is at work.

Jesus calls us to love and unity, but we are polarized. We try to include all kinds of voices but many of our most vibrant churches and pastors are left out. They have much to teach us about practices of thriving churches. Many of them are struggling about whether they can stay in the denomination. They have to be part of the conversation. We need them and we need to trust and listen.

My wildest dream for our church is that we put the best of our energies and resources into equipping strong, healthy congregations and pastors to grow faithful disciples on fire for the gospel! I want us to be known less for being at odds with each other and more for our grace-filled, life-giving congregations. I hope we can put less energy into maintaining buildings, bureaucracy, the status quo and more into loving God, serving others, and doing God’s will in the world.

Thanks again to all of the candidates for being part of this process. While we obviously hold all of the candidates in prayer throughout this process, please be sure to pray for their communities of service, their families and all who are supporting them during this time.

For all of the candidates’ links and responses click HERE or go directly to the individual responses: Randy and ShamaineRobert and HopeNeal and TaraSusan and James

James Sanghyun Lee, Candidate for Vice-Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

In an attempt to help folks get to know the candidates for Moderator of the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), I have asked the Moderatorial and Vice-Moderatorial Candidates a few questions. You can find links to all of their responses HERE and you can follow most of the candidates on Twitter HERE. Thanks for taking the time to read their responses and please feel free to share this with friends, leave a comment or ask a question.

CANDIDATE FOR  VICE- MODERATOR w/Susan Krummel
James Sanghyun Lee –  Teaching Elder, Trinity Presbytery
Website

A snippet from James’ responses in the 2012 Moderatorial Handbook:

Under his leadership, KCPC has expanded not only its membership and programs, but also its local and overseas missions. Today, the church partners with over 15 missionaries and has completed three construction projects in Mexico and India. Rev. Lee also has involved actively with the spiritual formation of the second generation Korean Americans. Through his coordination, the regional Korean American summer youth camp has grown to a consortium of over 25 youth ministries within the Synod of South Atlantic and Living Waters.

Knowing that being Moderator/Vice-Moderator will require a great deal of time and energy from you and your community, why give in this way to the Presbyterian Church (USA)?

It is the calling. When I was about to respond to my first call as a youth pastor two decades ago, I felt utterly unprepared even with few students, but I was certain that God had a reason. Since that moment, I have experienced God’s grace allowing me to serve in a way I had never imagined. Serving as a Vice-Moderator will require more time and energy, but if an opportunity is given to me, I will serve with the strength God provides. As 1 Peter 4:11 says, “If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”

Today, the church faces a lot of questions. However, I am not sure whether we should spend our time answering them all. Watching the decline of many mainline denominations, whether they are on a conservative or a progressive spectrum (ASARB, 2010), I wonder whether we are focusing at a correct set of questions. Many issues we have in our church today seem to obstruct us from seeing the global perspective our risen Lord Jesus shared with the first believers. I hope that GA will be able to raise a new set of questions that will initiate open ended dialogues. In our emerging world, whether it is a redeveloped neighborhood in Detroit or a sprawling downtown in Shanghai, the church should find a way to relate to the people who are searching for meaning and purpose in life.

If someone were to ask you, “Why should I bother going to church?” how would you respond?

In our diverse culture, people seem to be cautious of sharing their faith. However, I would still invite people to attend my church and share with them of how the church gives me hope in my life. I believe that sharing personal testimonies plays a key role when it comes to inviting people to church. People may not be ready to come right away, but when their lives are challenged with struggle, they may remember the invitation. I have seen many people who have come to church because of such invitations. An invitation to church is like planting a seed. The one who sows may not see the result, but the seed will grow and bloom when the time comes. After inviting people to the church, I will also continue to pray for them.

Choose one item of business or issue that will be coming up at General Assembly and share your perspective.

One item of business that interest me the most is the recommendation made by GA Special Task Force to Study Racial Ethnic and New Immigrant Church Growth to hold a national consultation to develop strategies and polices to support racial ethnic, multicultural, and new immigrant church growth (Item No. 16-06).

The racial and cultural makeup of our nation has become increasingly diverse and complex. However, our strategy has not changed much. Restaurants like McDonald’s do not open stores catering exclusively for racial ethnic, multicultural, and new immigrant population. Instead they find a way to reach out to diverse racial and cultural makeup of the general population . As a Korean American, I hope to see my children not attending a racial ethnic church, but a church that embraces diversity. Definitely it is a time to reinvestigate a new strategy.

What are a few things that most people would never guess about you: interests, adventures or . . .?

I love cooking. It is a relatively recent discovery of my talent. I love to recreate dishes that I ate in the past. It is a great way to relieve my stress and bring joy to my family and friends.

One adventure I recall from my youth is camping on a remote island in Hong Kong for five days with 3 of my friends. The trip became longer than we had intended. The fishermen who dropped us on the island forgot to pick us up. It became a survival game after we consumed all the food we had. Finding food on an uninhabited island for the remainder of the trip was a struggle. One lesson I learned is the importance of the team work especially in a crisis situation.

WILD CARD: Answer any question you want, one that someone has yet to ask or choose from some that have been asked here: http://bit.ly/KwiN07

Seeing as how most of the congregations in the PC(USA) are declining, what leadership can you offer to churches who are trying to turn that around? How are the congregations that you serve doing in that regard?

When I first came to my current church, the church had a clear sign of aging. The median age of the congregation was late 50s. Today with some changes the session made the median age has become early 40s. Two major changes were the emphasis on Christian education and overseas missions. The session took initiative in both areas.

Under the session leadership, we revamped our Sunday school program by realigning adult programs in parallel with the children’s program. Such realignment created a synergistic effect and resulted in a major increase in overall church attendance. Today my church enjoys both the presence of younger families and older members because effective children’s program also attracted their grand parents.

The session decentralized overseas missions to small groups. The number of mission partners increased from 2 to 15. Three construction projects have been completed in Mexico and India. The mission budget increased by 10 times as well. Overseas missions also sparked a need for local outreach programs. From these changes, I witnessed how people can be passionate with the church once their time and effort are focused on the Great Commission.

Thanks again to all of the candidates for being part of this process. While we obviously hold all of the candidates in prayer throughout this process, please be sure to pray for their communities of service, their families and all who are supporting them during this time.

For all of the candidates’ links and responses click HERE or go directly to the individual responses: Susan and JamesRandy and ShamaineRobert and HopeNeal and Tara


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