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Central Illinois pastor sends masks to urban churches

Posted: March 31 2021 at 11:49 AM
Rev Deborah Jungmi Kang

Rev. Deborah Jungmi Kang, Associate Pastor at Wesley UMC in Urbana.

Jesus speaks to us: “Live in this place where you take up your cross and follow me. Don’t ever quit.” Jesus constantly calls out to us to live with our crosses and to follow him wherever we are. For one United Methodist pastor
serving in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference, following Jesus Christ during the global pandemic led to active participation in distributing thousands of face masks beyond her community.

The Rev. Deborah Jungmi Kang, who was ordained in the Northern Illinois Conference, is currently the Associate Pastor at Wesley United Methodist Church in Urbana. When one of her church members, Kiyun Lee, a CEO at a South Korean company that manufactures masks, donated 10,000 face coverings, Kang began looking for ways to distribute them in Illinois.

Kang and her husband, Rev. Chiyong Oh first gave 2,000 masks to the Wesley Food Pantry, the Cunningham Children’s home in Urbana and saved the rest for pastoral purposes. When Kang suggested that Lee donate the remaining masks to churches in big cities to address the challenges of having in-person worship without full vaccinations, he agreed. Kang contacted her friends in the Northern Illinois Conference for a list of African American, Hispanic/Latino and multi-cultural churches who would benefit from the donated masks and with the help of her church’s Discipleship/Family Committee paying for the cost of shipping, they were able to send 3,100 masks to 14 urban churches in the Chicago area and beyond.

Unfortunately, when Kang and Oh arrived at the local post office with 50 boxes of masks, their shipment was initially rejected. “The post office clerk humiliated us and treated us badly,” said Kang. “Even though I told her her hatred due to English was racial discrimination, she didn't accept it. In light of the hate crime incident in Atlanta, I share this story showing it is not easy for Asians or Asian Americans to live fairly.”

Facemasklarger

Rev. Chiyong Oh and Kiyun Lee box up thousands of face masks to send to urban churches in the Northern Illinois Conference.

Kang and her husband took the 50 boxes to another post office, where they were shipped without incident. While following Jesus Christ, Kang appreciates anything she can do to encourage churches and their ministries during the global pandemic. In her case, it meant distributing donated masks to churches who needed them the most.

NIC Churches distribution list:

• Chicago: African Community
• Melrose Park: Red Door NFC
• Chicago: The Redeemer of Calvary
• Chicago: Olivet
• Chicago: Gorham
• Chicago: New Gresham
• Chicago: Ingleside-Whitfield
• Chicago: Wesley
• Maple Park
• Beach Park: San Pablo
• Rockford: Centennial Multicultural
• Maywood: Neighborhood
• Chicago: Emanuel
• Chicago: Urban Village

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