Willa Kernen served in South Korea as overseas mission personnel for The United Church of Canada from 1954 to 1995. Excluding time on furlough, she spent 35 years helping a nation battered by war and militarism get back on its feet. But her witness to the power of Christian partnership did not end when she returned to her home of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
When Incheon Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea wrote to ask River Bend Presbytery in Saskatchewan Conference if it would consider entering into an inter-presbytery partnership, it was the connection through Willa Kernen that made the idea feel so natural.
On June 2 a delegation of 13 visitors from Incheon Presbytery arrived in Saskatoon for a 10-day introduction to River Bend Presbytery. They visited cultural centres, historic sites, and rural and urban churches.
They stayed in church members’ houses and shared many conversations and experiences with their hosts over meals and in various planned visits. The relationships created in those 10 days were deep and full of spiritual power. But the most powerful of them all was when the visitors went to visit Willa. They expressed deep gratitude for her years of service and told stories of lives that had been changed through the relationship of The United Church of Canada and the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea.
Those intercultural relationships begun so long ago are still as vital and important as ever today. And, as always, they are still made possible by our gifts for Mission and Service. Please continue to give generously.