North Korean church leader Kang Yong Sop dies

New Year's greeting by Kang Yong Sop

The Rev. Kang Yong Sop, chair of the Central Committee of the Korean Christian Federation (KCF), passed away in Pyongyang on 21 January 2012, at the age of 80. I have known  Kang for more than 20 years. On the same day his death was announced, I received a New Year’s greeting card bearing his signature.

Rev. Kang Yong Sop at a WCC Consultation in Hong Kong 2009. (Photo WCC)

Rev. Kang was the son of another Protestant pastor, with family links to Kim Il Sung. Prior to his ordination, Kang served as North Korean ambassador to Romania. He was a member of the Supreme People’s Assembly and on occasion chaired sessions of the SPA. As KCF Chairperson, Kang led numerous delegations to foreign countries, including Canada on at least two occasions. He forged links with overseas churches and the ecumenical movement, attending three Assemblies of the World Council of Churches, as well as participating in numerous church-related events where both North and South Koreans were in attendance.

Under his leadership the KCF became active in humanitarian projects, building noodle and bread factories and distributing food, clothing and other items donated by churches abroad. Two Protestant church buildings exist in Pyongyang, as well as the KCF headquarters and a theological school for training deacons and pastors. Bongsu Church, the larger of the two, has recently been rebuilt, financed by South Korean churches. Read the rest of this entry »

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