WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 31, 2012) – Covenant minister Peter Chin, a second-generation Korean American, and the largely African American congregation where he serves as interim pastor were highlighted on the front page of the Washington Post’s Metro section Saturday.
The paper focused on the pairing because Korean and African Americans have a history of tension related to the fact Korean business owners often operate in traditionally black neighborhoods while living elsewhere.
D.C. Council member and former mayor Marion Barry caused an uproar during an election night victory speech earlier this year when he said, “We’ve got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, those dirty shops.”
But the recent article states that, “(Chin’s) relationships with parishioners and neighbors contrast sharply with the notion that Korean American and African American relations are fraught with tension and suspicion.”
The Post writer told Chin she became aware of his congregation, Peace Fellowship (which is nondenominational), after Relevant magazine published his article on relationships between Koreans and blacks.
Chin and his family moved into the neighborhood of the church three years ago. He recently was called to be the congregation’s interim pastor. Pastor Dennis Edwards founded the church 10 years ago and left recently to serve Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When Edwards was considering the position at Sanctuary he talked with Chin about serving as Peace’s pastor.
Chin and his family first attended the church when a Korean American friend invited him. “Peace Fellowship didn’t seem to pay much attention to race or class. We were shocked — it was completely multiethnic, multiclass,” Chin is quoted in the article.
Chin also wrote an article in the September issue of the Covenant Companion, “Exposing Our Hidden Fears,” on how the church can move beyond good intentions to begin realizing a truly post-racial society.