Monday, November 13, 2006

English: lingua franca

I've been looking for a church in South Korea, but found it hard to find one with English services. It took me 2 1/2 months, but I found it. Yesterday, I everything synced up and I was able to make plans with the Korean sponsor, get a ride, and get there.

The church is in a transition stage from being an English service of a Korean Presbyterian church and being its own independent community. For practical purposes, it is independent and has little connection with the rest of the Korean church. The church serves mainly the English-speaking expatriates who are working on Geoje with one of the shipyards (Samsung or Daewoo). The people are from all over, and are usually only assigned to Geoje for six months to a year at a time.

These rotation cycles sometimes leave few English-speakers at the church. This past sundry, there were about fifteen people, including myself. Talking afterwards, I realized that although we were united by our language and our faith, we were all from different countries. The attendees came from Sweden, Nigeria, Canada, Sweden, Malaysia, Korea, and the US.

I began to think about English and how it really is the international lingua franca. While there are plenty of languages that have more native speakers, the wide reach of the former British Empire, combined with the US's superpower status has cemented English as the most practical second language.


  1. I'm planning to come to Geoje soon. Can you tell me a little more about your church?


  2. Nathan "Georgie"--

    Your blogger profile doesn't have a public accessibility, so I'll reply publicly. If you have more questions, e-mail me at "joshfriel at"

    The church here at Geoje is pretty small right now. As I mentioned in the post, the attendance is cyclical based on the number of foreigners in town from projects at the shipyards.

    While we're associated with a Korean Presbyterian church (Okpo Joong-ang) most members aren't Presbyterian. The service is non-denominational. The Korean church provides us with a warmed and cooled building, and their paster says a prayer at the end of each service. Since we do have people from many backgrounds, we stay away from issues which there is debate about in the Church.

    The size offers you a chance to be as involved. If you want to just attend and be a "benchwarmer" okay. But we are always looking for me willing to give a scripture reading, say a prayer, or give the occasional sermon.

    Dress is casual. Most people wear jeans and button shirts (or even t-shirts).

    Since we are a non-denominational, we don't take firm stances on the debatable issues within orthodoxy. (Notice that's little "o" orthodoxy).

    Overall, we our ministry is to the English-speaking foreigners working on Geoje. That being said there are a few Koreans who have been the backbone of the church since it was brought together about five years ago. They have been the foundation as various members are transferred on and off the island because of work.

    So drop me an e-mail, or give me a call when you get to the island--010-3145-9402.


I appreciate comments. If you have a personal message to me, then e-mail would be best.

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