In our inaugural Community Quilt post, Mariann Reardon shares an introduction of Sue Park Hur, co-founder and co-director of ReconciliAsian, and co-pastor at Mountain View Mennonite Church in Upland, CA.
Many of us know the inimitable Sue Park Hur, friend and sister of PMC. Ahead of her visit to us this Sunday, I wanted to write a more detailed introduction for those of us that haven’t had the honor to get to know her yet. She and her husband Hyun Hur have been on the Southern California Mennonite scene since they started a Korean house church called Church for Others in 2008 and later their non-profit organization, ReconciliAsian, in 2013. Sue and Hyun started ReconciliAsian as a ministry to equip Korean Church leaders with peacemaking theology and practices—a calling that had blossomed in their own faith journey when Hyun studied at Fuller Theological Seminary under Dr. Wilbert Shenk. Having a distinctly Anabaptist flavor, Hannah Heinzekehr (formerly of Mennonite Mission Network) came alongside the fledgeling project and helped connect it with the Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference, which aided them in fundraising until they could establish ReconciliAsian with its own non-profit status. (www.reconciliasian.com)
Also in 2013, thanks to their kinship with PSMC, the Hurs found themselves the object of a quest for new pastoral leadership by Mountain View Mennonite Church in Upland. After a few queries as to Hyun’s interest in being lead pastor, the Hurs were encouraged by their friends to propose themselves as co-pastors—so they could share the load and also have the time to tend to ReconciliAsian. MVMC enthusiastically accepted their proposal, and in so doing, acquired their first ever female pastor in Sue. She has since enjoyed co-leading the longstanding church (the first iteration of which was established in the 1940s!).
Sue and Hyun share their gifts in church leadership not only here in the LA area, but they are also committed to engaging in gatherings, conversations, and initiatives on a “big C” church scale. Most recently, Sue traveled to Hampton, VA, to participate in the Hope for the Future conference, a gathering of Mennonite Leaders of Color. Sue and Hyun were also among the 50+ initial signers of the Public Call to Protect All People, an initiative started by John K. Stoner (founder of Every Church a Peace Church) and released by MCUSA’s Peace and Justice Support Network in January 2017. The call encourages congregations to deeply engage in the health of their local communities, and is accompanied by an implementation guide. (http://mennoniteusa.org/news/hope-future-together-time/, www.pjsn.org/Resources/Pages/Public-Call-to-Protect-All-People.aspx)
When I asked Sue what drives her to put so much love and energy into these projects and relationships, she had an immediate and simple answer; “Our passion is the church. Whether it be a pastoral voice or a prophetic voice, for the local church or the larger church, we are always asking ourselves, ‘how do we show that God unifies—that the church is one?’” When I asked Sue what advice she has for us, Pasadena Mennonite Church, in the area of reconciliation work, she offered this; “It starts at your front door. Engage people in the complexity of their stories. See the value and worth of each person that comes into your space, however different they may seem. Practice radical hospitality. Boldly welcome all.” So on Sunday, please give Sue a warm welcome as she joins us to share a sermon and a report on the work she’s been doing with funding in part from PMC’s Aron Jantzen Memorial Fund.