Saturday, April 11, 2009

The German Bishops and Korean Small Christian Groups

The Korean Church has a knack of being able to take a foreign program, adapt it to its own needs and very often do a better job with the results than the initial program. A good example of this is the Basic Christian Community Movement . There are many names for these small group meetings in homes. They are often called village meetings, ban meetings.They can meet weekly or monthly. Originally the movement came to Korea from South America.

They meet in the homes of the Christians. They share the word of God, share fellowship, and are united with the parish and the Universal Church. There is someone in charge of the proceedings usually a person appointed by the pastor to represent the Catholics in the village or different sections of a parish. It is an attempt to get more intimacy and experience Church as it should be and not as we have it in so many large parishes. "There is the desire to reestablish human relationships within the Community: to form church communities of a size that allow for true human relationships in the parish to which such groups belong and with the entire diocesan and universal church. In such a human context, it will be easier to gather to hear the Word of God, to reflect on the range of human problems in the light of this Word, and gradually to make responsible decisions inspired by the all-embracing love of Christ."

It is obvious that there are many difficulties in forming these communities. The different expectations of the parish priests towards these groups is also a point of dispute. They are not always successful and the need for the families to have two working full time has put obstacles in the way. The movement, however, continues and efforts are being made to strengthen and improve it frequently.

There will be a workshop,this coming week, for the German Bishops and some other bishops from other countries who are associated with the FABC (Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences). The German Catholic Church will be looking for help in renewing the life of the Christians in Germany with the pastoral model of small Christian Communities. The Church in Korea especially the dioceses of Suwon and Cheju have a good reputation in this area. That the German bishops will be coming to Korea for exposure to village groups is a good sign of this success.