Korean Presbyterian Church Fairbanks
The Rev. Gene Straatmeyer, pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Fairbanks, learned in 1976 that Korean people were forming a Presbyterian Church in Anchorage.
At the fall Presbytery meeting in 1976, they petitioned to have a church organized and it was granted. This looked like an exciting new possibility for Fairbanks, too, Straatmeyer later recalled.
I asked the Korean lay minister from Anchorage to come to Fairbanks for a preaching mission, and we set it up for November. I inquired around town about Korean people, but couldn't find any. So, the night came when Mr. Park arrived at the church to preach. The appointed time of the service was 8:00 p.m. At 8:00 p.m., no one was there. Mr. Park went into the sanctuary to pray. I paced the foyer. At 8:15 p.m., five Koreans appeared, but two left immediately. Mr. Park started preaching to the three. Within an hour, fifteen were present.
In the summer of 1977, they (the Koreans) began worshiping regularly in our sanctuary and in the fall of 1977 they petitioned Presbytery to be organized as the First Korean Presbyterian Church of Fairbanks....
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We, the Korean Congregation like to express our gratitude for the prayers and the support for the last few years. As I said at the last Presbytery meeting, there are extremely limited Koreans in this area. Also more than half of members are military wives from the Fort Wainwright army base and Eielsen air force base. But on the other hand, there are many new arriving military wives also. This is the reason that there is considerable adding and subtracting in our membership roll. Church membership consisted of 25 new members added to the church roll for the year 1983. But due to the transient nature of military wives, 21 members were transferred by letter to other churches and two were erased from membership due to extreme absenteeism.
This left us net gain two members. Now there are 45 members on our active roll.
Especially, our church puts lots of work in to the Sunday school. There are 25 students in our Sunday school which is a large group considering our adult members. There are three Sunday school teachers for the three different age groups. We have combined four-year-olds and kindergarten, first grades to third grades and fourth grades to sixth grades.
They are learning rapidly the Word of God through the Bible. They rejoice in the name of the Lord. Once again, our church grows very slowly in members due to adding and subtracting so rapidly as I said earlier.
But we are very happy to bring them to Lord even though we loose our members.
There is lots of work to be done in evangelism within this transient area. We are sure we will never regret this kind of happy work for the Lord. Also we believe the Lord has richly blessed us. Clerk of Session.