From the Worldwide Faith News archives

American Asian Disciples plan for the future

From "Office of Communications"<>
Date 25 Apr 2000 13:10:10

Date: April 25, 2000
Disciples News Service
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Contact: Clifford L. Willis
on the Web:


INDIANAPOLIS (DNS) - In a move aimed at enabling self-determination and 
greater visibility, North American Pacific Asian leaders of the Christian 
Church (Disciples of Christ) recently initiated a plan to establish an 
autonomous pastoral office. 

The leaders came to their decision in a March visioning conference here, 
held by the executive council of the North American Pacific Asian 
Disciples. The event attracted 46 persons, including regional, general 
unit and higher education representatives.

The current office of North American Asian Ministries has been part of the 
Homeland Ministries division since its inception eight years ago. The 
office was initially lodged in the department of evangelism. It was later 
added to the office of HM President Ann Updegraff Spleth. 

At present, members of NAPAD are unsure of exactly how and where the 
freestanding office will be placed. It will, however, continue to work 
very closely with Homeland Ministries, said NAPAD Moderator Jeri Sias, 
Columbus, Ohio.

"It has been 10 years since evaluating where NAPAD is going," Sias said. 
"We have met all of our goals, which included creating the office of 
American Asian Ministries, calling a staff person and developing 50 
congregations. It is time to move forward to see where we will be going 
for the next decade."

"This is a really big step," said Spleth. The Homeland Ministries leader 
expressed both joy and reluctance to let go of a ministry which has 
strengthened her administrative division. "We'll be diminished when this 
process is over, but the church will be strengthened," she said.

Sias sees the move as an opportunity for self-determination and increased 
exposure for the organization. In addition, it can foster more equitable 
relationships with general administrative units, regions and two other 
ethnic caucuses in the denomination. The two groups are the National 
Convocation, which is a fellowship of African American Disciples, and the 
Central Pastoral Office for Hispanic Ministries.

The first step, approved by the NAPAD executive council, requests 
membership and participation in the church's mission funding body - Church 
Finance Council. The group also asked General Minister and President 
Richard L. Hamm, in consultation with NAPAD leaders, to appoint a task 
force on structure.  The task force will develop a proposal aimed at 
identifying the new administrative location for the North  American Asian 
Ministries office.

"This is going to be a new design and creation," said the Rev. Geunhee Yu, 
executive pastor for North American Asian Ministries.  The new structure 
will be marked by "autonomy as well as a close relationship," he added. 
"We feel that we are mature enough to be a free standing, self-determining 

In other action, the NAPAD executive council determined several future 
priorities. These include leader development among youth and young adults, 
and lay and clergywomen;  new congregation development and congregational 
revitalization, strengthening funding and structural partnerships and 
enhancing theological education. In particular, NAPAD hopes to spark 
development of a Korean language degree program at a Disciples-related 

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