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Korean Methodism

Many historians claim the history of Korean Methodism as long as two hundred

years. They may recognize YooHwan Hong, pupil of Ik Lee, who collected books

concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ through China as early as 1770s.

Hong attempted to live as guided by the books. Knowing a day of feast recurring

every 7th day in Christian tradition, Hong rested a day per seven days each

month and meditated there on. His personal belief on human desire as a

gateway to sin, he stayed on a ridge of BackSan, meaning "Mountain with

Whitehead." He focused on observance of the Day of the Lord and life of

abstention.  Later, baptism for SeungHoon Lee in February of 1784 with his Christian name of "Pierre" implied an expectation of the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church.


The beginning of Korean Methodism has been known to many with the arrival of Henry Gerhard Appenzeller, 1858-1902) in 1884 at his age of 26. Yet, we cannot but acknowledge a couple of other forerunners: John F. Goucher (1845-1922), Bishop Charles H. Fowler and General Missionary Committee, District Superintendent Robert Samuel Maclay (1824-1907, ordained in 1847 for missionary to China and stayed in Japan as the Principal of Anglo-Japanese College in Tokyo in 1883). Maclay scouted for the first time as a Methodist on June 23, 1884. Okyun Kim, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the reign of Emperor GoJong handed to the emperor an epistle from Maclay. Kim informed Maclay about the imperial approval of inauguration of modern education and medical work in Seoul, Korea on July 3. Maclay returned to Japan and asked SuJeong Lee (1842-1886) to interpret Doctrinal Standards in Korean. Lee was baptized in Japan in April in 1885 who also translated the Gospel of Mark in Korean by the direction of H. Roomis, the Director of The Bible Society. Appenzellor landed in Jemulpo on April 5, 1885 Easter Sunday with The Gospel of Mark and The Doctrinal Standards. William B. Scranton, M.D. of New Haven, CT (Graduated Yale and M.D. at NY Medical School) and his wife Loulie Wyeth Arms had visitation of Maclay in Cleveland, OH got ordination as Medical Missionary on December 14, 1884 by Bishop Fowler. Mary F. Scranton, the mother volunteered to become a missionary to Korea in October. She later founded Ewha Women's Academy in Seoul, Korea. 


An episode of Goucher's encounter of 11 envoy led by YoungIk Min, cousin of Queen MyeongSung on a train (today's California Zapher of AmTrek) to Washington from San Francisco is noticeable. Landed in San Francisco on September 2, 1883 with a long voyage by the military ship that had brought Lucius H. Foote the first ambassador across the Pacific from Jemulpo on July 16, the envoy stayed a night in Chicago on September 13 to ride on a connection to Washington. On the way to Washington, the 11 met Goucher. Goucher invited these strangers to his parsonage in Baltimore. He raised mission fund of $2,000. ...


Christianity was introduced first to the Koreans of Shilla (57 B.C.-A.D.935) just before the reign of TaeJong MooJeol (b. 604 r. 654-661), ChoonChu Kim, who traveled to China. A nestorian cross made of stone kept in a Buddhist Temple Bulkuksa seems to prove it. Historians believe that the cross was from a Christian sect in China in his days, established by Nestorius who had been excommunicated in A.D. 431.