‘The Power of Love’ was the title of the first sermon Reverend Dr Je Cheol Cook delivered at Beaudesert and Canungra Uniting Church services on 20 February.
Rev Dr Je Cheol (known to church members as Je Cheol or JC) was inducted into service as the new local Uniting Church minister, serving Beaudesert and Canungra, on 13 February.
Je Cheol moved here from New Zealand, where he worked for six years as minister at Greyfriars Eden Epsom Presbyterian Church after completing his studies, including Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) at Concordia Theological Seminary in the US.
His family, including wife Yun Young, daughter Ka Hee, 21, and son Ji Hoon, 23, were reunited in Australia just in time for his induction service, after Covid border closures saw them separated for eight months.
The family lives on site in the manse (minister’s house) at Beaudesert and Je Cheol has been busy getting to know the congregation.
Yun Young has been putting down roots, too, helping in the church op shop, Ji Hoon is working as a software developer in South Brisbane and Ka Hee is studying her Master of Audiology at UQ in Brisbane.
Je Cheol, who will be 51 in July, said he accepted an invitation to apply for the Beaudesert and Canungra role partly because it took him back to his roots.
“I wasn’t familiar with this area, but I had a chance to chat with Reverend Peter Clark, who was previously Minister of this church in 1992, and he touched my heart when he told me about this church,” he said.
“I grew up in the countryside in South Korea in a small town, Iksan, which has about 5,000 people. My mother still lives there.”
Je Cheol paid tribute to the work the church was already doing with the community.
“We work together with Blue Care next door, helping elderly people, we also have the op shop and Tracey’s Pantry and our affiliation with Emmaus College at Jimboomba,” he said.
“I’m here to help our members as well as our community.”
“I had a very good first impression of this place. I had a chance to meet my neighbours, to visit the supermarket and everybody is very friendly. This place has nice people, nice scenery and a nice church.”
Church Treasurer Peter Venz welcomed Je Cheol to the district.
“Just knowing JC and his wife and family for this short time, we know they have nothing but love in their hearts,” he said.
“We’re very excited about what the future holds for us.”
Je Cheol delivers sermons at two services each Sunday – 8.30am in Beaudesert and 10.30am in Canungra – and serves both church congregations during the week.