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Canadian Intercultural Leader Leaves

July 3, 2024
Photo: CRC Communications

Pablo Kim Sun, senior leader for Intercultural Ministry, has recently accepted a position with the Presbyterian Church in Canada as intercultural liaison. Kim Sun will wrap up his work for the Christian Reformed Church in North America on July 9 in preparation for an Aug. 1 start with the Presbyterian Church in Canada.

Reflecting on his work with the CRCNA, Kim Sun shared, “I am filled with gratitude for the experiences, relationships, and lessons learned. It has been an honor to work alongside dedicated and passionate colleagues, and I am deeply appreciative of the support and collaboration I have received.”

Kim Sun began his work as senior leader for antiracism and intercultural conciliation in 2021, when the position was created by the CRCNA’s Canadian board as part of a commitment to anti-racism, justice, and reconciliation.

The goal was for Kim Sun, working with a national advisory committee, to create robust positive change, first among CRCNA staff and leaders in Canada and then widening to engage classis-level and congregational leaders and members. 

Kim Sun, who is ethnically Korean, brought diversity of education and life experience to the role. He grew up and completed his undergraduate studies in Paraguay before earning an M.Div. degree at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. Raised Presbyterian, Kim Sun later became ordained as a Mennonite pastor. He was drawn to the work he took up at the CRCNA because he admired the denomination’s commitment to antiracism and intercultural ministries, and he continues to appreciate the hospitality he finds.

“Last year, Resonate conducted a survey among local CRC churches in Canada, and almost 90 percent expressed a desire to become a healthy intercultural church,” said Kim Sun. “These churches aim not only to tolerate but also to embrace, celebrate, and utilize diversity as an asset to build a healthy church community.” 

He noted that 13 churches joined a multicultural cohort in 2024, and another 12 are waiting to join the next cohort, which Kim Sun suggested shows a yearning for healthy diversity, as well as “a willingness to learn, share God-given opportunities, and address challenges.”

As Kim Sun engaged with churches and worked to shape positive change in the CRCNA, he said, he found that different churches have different paces of change, and that even within each congregation there are members ready for rapid and robust change while others – often longer-term or even multigenerational members – prefer to move toward the goal at a more measured pace.

“Each church community is unique, so there is no universal answer,” suggested Kim Sun. “The general rule of thumb is to find a middle pace, which may leave both groups somewhat unsatisfied. It’s also crucial for the community to discern the Spirit’s guidance. Sometimes the Spirit works faster than we desire, and sometimes God is more patient than we expect.”

Kim Sun explained that he believes it is important to identify the middle pace and discern together the Spirit’s direction. “From my perspective, the Spirit is already ahead of us, and we need to catch up to avoid missing the kairos moment, the opportune time for necessary change.”

His hope for the CRC, said Kim Sun, is that it will become a more hospitable community where each member is loved and welcomed, living into Jesus’ prayer that his disciples will be known by their love for each other. 

That kind of hospitality is not always easy, Kim Sun said; it requires intentional effort and sacrifices – but the effort is worthwhile. “In a polarized time, practicing hospitality shows that a different way of engaging and relating is possible. Diversity can only flourish in a hospitable environment,” he said.

Kim Sun noted two factors that he believes are essential for creating a hospitable community. The first is generative listening, which he explains means entering conversations with curiosity, striving for constructive discussions and genuinely teachable attitudes. The second is epistemological humility, which he describes as recognizing that we do not have all of the answers and that our views may need correction.

“We believe in the Truth, who is Jesus Christ, but we do not possess all the truth,” Kim Sun explained. “Therefore, we must remain open and reflective about our beliefs and continually be learners. If we err, we should err on the side of loving and welcoming, as it is ultimately about becoming the family of God.”

With a continual commitment to becoming more loving, inclusive, and diverse as a community, said Kim Sun, churches and members of the CRCNA can achieve great things together. 

Kim Sun concluded, “Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this incredible journey. As I move into my new role, I carry with me the invaluable lessons and memories from my time with the CRCNA. I look forward to seeing how the CRC will continue to grow and thrive, and I remain committed to supporting this important work in any way I can.”