Workshop on DIVERSITY-Booklet (Photo: OH)
17. April 2020 EMSOPipit

"Learning without Competition"

Interview with Dr Hyun Sun OH from South Korea

YOU+ME: FRIENDS AROUND THE WORLD is an educational programme for children in the worldwide EMS family. The focus lies on the youngest generation. The aim is to connect children worldwide – at eye level and in an ecumenical context.

Since October 2019 Dr Hyun Sun OH, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK) and Representative for Theology and Education in Space Elizabeth near Seoul, is working for the EMS children’s programme. The aim is to implement the programme in South Korea. With her work for the children’s programme, the EMS gains experiences how internationalisation succeeds. As a member of the Mission Council, Mrs OH is being closely connected to the EMS for a long time.

How do people in your workshops in South Korea respond to EMS' offer to work with children internationally?

Almost all the participants were pastors who are involved in the educational ministry in their churches. They have expressed two positive impressions on the workshop in large. Firstly, they have realized that the theme ‘diversity’ is including not only differences but also similarities among children in the world. The booklet DIVERSITY invites children to contact friends living in different sides of the world beyond the geographical boundaries. Secondly, small themes in the booklet are well connected with the Bible practically. It is very good to start from the stories of children and children can open the Bible naturally.

What do I learn by attending a workshop where you present the EMS children's programme?

One of participants said, “Generally, teachers expect and ask the children to give answers back after teacher’s questions in the Sunday school. However, through this workshop I have had chances to see the possibilities that children would have shared their insights and life concerns from their own perspectives if they are motivated.”

Since Korean society insists on social success, a competitive situation is formed in the lives of children. Therefore, children are used to how others are saying about their opinions and to think their answers are correct or wrong before they speak. This booklet shows that just simple questions to the children help children to explain their own experiences and they become to be able to share their lives without any pressure.
I think these are strong points of this programme.

Is there anything that is especially important for such a children's programme in South Korea?

Christian children in South Korea are needed to be encouraged to experience Jesus as a friend of them not as the judge or punisher. I hope that Korean Christian children learn on peace in practical way like this programme. As a divided country, we, including the children, used to hear a great discourse on peace not a tangible peace in daily lives.

What do you think children from South Korea, but also from other countries, need from our churches for the future? 

In the relation with the third question, peace education is important. Sharing the ideas and understandings on peace from other countries, children in the world keep listening other’s voices and praying together.

Anything, any theme, and any idea can be shared among the children in the world, if we are doing this project continuously.

We, EMS, realized already that children are creative, open-mined, and funny through this programme, don’t we?


Dr Hyun Sun OH

Dr Hyun Sun OH is pastor of PCK in South Korea and she works for the EMS children’s programme.

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