Rev. Prof. Dr Yong-bock Kim

Rev. Prof. Dr Yong-bock Kim.

As an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church of Korea, Kim shared his gifts with the church at large. He was one of the prominent minjung theologians, who pursued his vision of liberation of the oppressed through his lifetime contribution to the ecumenical movement.

Kim greatly contributed to the ecumenical movement in Asia. He served as a member of Christian Conference of Asias Commission on Theological Concern from 1976-81. Dr Kim Yong-Bock was an ecumenical guru who inspired and motivated many Asians to take Christian faith and witness seriously in emerging socio-political contexts,” said Dr Mathews George Chunakara, general secretary, Christian Conference of Asia.

Kim was involved in activities of the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Council for World Mission (CWM) for decades. CWM and the Asian Christian ecumenical community have lost a Dreaming Boy’—his nickname—an eminent theologian, a visionary leader and a humble activist. But I strongly believe his contributions to the theological and ecumenical community and his vision will continue to inspire many more generations to come,” said Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum, CWM general secretary.

Kim served as vice-moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission for the ChurchesParticipation in Development from 1983-91. He also played a key role in organizing the WCC convocation on Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation” in 1990 in Seoul.

Together with Prof. Philip Wickeri, Prof. Volker Küster and Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, interim deputy general secretary and director of the WCC Commission on Faith and Order, he developed the idea of holding theological institutes for young theological students in conjunction with global ecumenical gatherings. The first was held in Accra in 2004. The WCC has been holding theological institutes in conjunction with its assemblies or world conferences since 2006.

In his condolence letter, WCC acting general secretary Rev. Dr Ioan Sauca, expressed his appreciation to Kims contribution: Dr Kim was a committed ecumenist who served the ecumenical movement tirelessly and faithfully. As one of the prominent minjung theologians and a drafter of the NCCKs 88 Declarations, we deeply appreciate his contribution to peace and reunification on the Korean Peninsula. We thank God for the life and witness of Rev. Prof. Dr Yong-bock Kim as he played a crucial role in the peace process of the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK).”

Pedroso Mateus reflected that Yong-Bock Kim belonged to a generation of young theologians such as Rubem Alves and Philip Wickeri who did advanced studies under the supervision of the Presbyterian missiologist and ecumenist Richard Shaull. They inherited from him a future-oriented theological approach to human struggles for emancipation that would mark the WCCs Geneva 1966 Conference on Church and Society and would remain an important dimension of Kims scholarship and public engagement,” he said.

Condolence letter - Rev. Prof. Dr Yong-bock Kim