Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

May 3, 2001

Whitworth College to Confer Honorary Doctorate Upon Korean Pastor of One of the World's Largest Churches

A Korean pastor whose church has grown from 30 people to more than 54,000 members will receive an honorary doctorate from Whitworth College. The college will confer upon the Rev. Sam Whan Kim, founder and senior pastor of Myung Sung Presbyterian Church in Seoul, Korea, an honorary doctor of divinity degree in recognition of his contributions and commitment to Christian ministry. The ceremony will take place Wednesday, May 16, at 7 p.m. in Seeley G. Mudd Chapel at Whitworth College. A reception for Kim will follow the ceremony. The public is invited to both events.

Kim founded Myung Sung Presbyterian Church in 1980 and has served as the church's senior pastor for more than two decades. Under Rev. Kim's leadership, church membership has reached record numbers, making Myung Sung the largest Presbyterian church in Asia and one of the largest churches worldwide. The church holds seven Sunday services and four daily pre-dawn prayer services, which are attended by more than 20,000 members.

"Pastor Kim has opened his pulpit to me, and it was an unforgettable experience to preach to 5,000 people on a Sunday night," says Thomas Gillespie, president of Princeton Theological Seminary. "He has been my guest in Miller Chapel here at the seminary, and his simple, direct and insightful sermon had a profound effect upon us - even through translation."

Several biographies about Kim attribute the success of Myung Sung Presbyterian Church to Kim's leadership and ministry skills steeped in humility, his passion for Christian mission work, and his commitment to biblically sound preaching.

"Pastor Kim is one of Korea's greatest spiritual leaders," says Whitworth College President Bill Robinson. "He is a humble man who has set a great tone for the church in Korea and for Presbyterians around the world."

Under Kim's leadership, Myung Sung Presbyterian Church ardently supports overseas and domestic missionary work. The church has sent 21 of its own missionaries to overseas locations and it supports 36 other missionaries abroad. The church also supports mission work being done at 460 churches in farming and fishing villages in Korea, as well as numerous city churches, hospitals, military groups and educational institutions.

A graduate of Presbyterian College and Theological Seminary, and the Asian Center for Theological Studies and Mission, Kim serves on the board of trustees at both institutions as well as at Soongsil University, Yanbian University of Science and Technology, and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He is the recipient of the 1994 Protestant Church Leader of the Year Award and he served as president of the World Mission 2000 Conference Committee.

Kim holds leadership roles in numerous ministry, medical and media groups, including board member of The Kookmin Ilbo, a daily Christian newspaper in Korea; co-chairman of the Evangelization Council of Korean Public Prosecutors; commissioner of the South-North Cooperation Committee of the Korea Christian Association; and consultant to the Korea Association of Christian Medical Mission.


Gordon Jackson, associate dean of the faculty, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4303 or gjackson@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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