It was a touch of home right here is Seoul. Two and a half years in the making. As far as we know there is only one International Lutheran Church in all of Seoul, and we finally found it.
Just 30 minutes by bus, we walked into the church where Pastor Steve was in his robe, members were happily chatting with one another, and families were having pictures taken for the directory. Several members greeted us and inquired about our background. I spotted a teacher I knew from another school and met his family. All of this before church began.
Inside the church sanctuary (a real sanctuary!) was the alter prepared for Reformation Sunday and "the Green Book." Those of you who grew up Lutheran will know what I mean. The woman sitting in front of me overheard me comment on the green book and said, "Yes, I remember when we moved from the Red Book. It was such a big deal! Very divisive." Common childhood experiences! It was a taste of home to sing the old liturgy, hear a nice 8 minute sermon, take communion, and have a children's sermon for the kids. Very nice indeed.
But our experience wasn't over yet. After a ten-minute annual meeting, we made our way to the exit. We shook the Pastor's hand on the way out, talked to several more people and ended up in ye-olde-potluck line! Anna and Alec were both thrilled to get sloppy joes! No green jello, though. We sat at the long tables set up in the narthex and continued chatting with visitors from Maryland there to see their daughter and son-in-law. The churchgoers were from all different cultures and backgrounds, so it was indeed very international while simultaneously being a familiar experience.
As the potluck was winding up we were happy to win a raffle prize of a potted plant! The organizers made sure that the newbies got the "first gifts." On top of that we were talked into having our family picture taken for the directory!
Even the kids seemed to enjoy the service and the community feel.
I wonder how long it will be before we have a key to the church. . . .