Rev Dr Jong Soo Park (BA, MDiv, MTheol, PhD)
Jong Soo was born in a Christian family in South Korea and grew up closely connected with the church. He studied theology in the BA and MDiv courses at the Presbyterian College and Theological Seminary (PCTS) in Seoul, South Korea. In 2003, as soon as finishing his Master of Divinity, he came to Australia through the calling of a Korean Uniting Church in Melbourne. For 6 years he had worked for the congregation as a youth worker and an associate minister, which provided him with opportunities to serve Korean migrant families and their second-generation children, international marriage couples, international students and their families, and various sojourners.
After 6 years’ ministry in the Korean congregation in Melbourne, he started researching issues of Christian education for second-generation young people in his Master’s and PhD studies at the Melbourne College of Divinity (MCD). The premise of his argument in master’s research was to propose a new pedagogical model for migrant churches for educating their following generations. In his PhD thesis, he presented a new curriculum model, curriculum as software. The new curriculum model was designed to be suitable for Christian education for faith, to be fit to the socio-cultural life contexts of second-generation teenagers who are living in a multicultural and digital society, and to be appropriate to address the unique educational issues of the Korean ethnic churches. His research findings can be applied not only to Korean youth, but also to other ethnic minority and Caucasian young people in many respects. A book based on his research was published by WIPF and STOCK, an American publishing company, in 2015, “Christian Education Curriculum for the Digital Generation.”
As soon as finishing his PhD study, he was called by Ocean Grove parish of Uniting Church and started his ministry from January, 2015. He has been enjoying learning from different people, culture and contexts, through which he is broadening and deepening his concepts of the church, mission, theology, and multiculturalism. Especially, he is passionate to be a part of Regenerating the Church Strategy of the Port Philip West Presbytery belonging to the VicTas Synod. One of his primary concerns is designing fresh expressions of the church to make a safe and meaningful space not only for church members but also for local people who do not come to church regularly. For this, he is trying to apply his research findings of Christian education to the contexts of Ocean Grove parish considering its unique situation step by step. He is also volunteering as the director of an institution, the Australian Centre for Migrant-church Education (ACME), in order to contribute to making better educational contexts for migrant young people in Australia.