So, you knew about the Universalist mission to Korea, right?

The Universalist mission to Korea didn’t last long, and tantalizingly little has been written about it. It was surely a subset of the Japanese mission work, and during this period — some time in the 1920s — Korea was occupied by Japan.

This photo, from the 1927 Universalist Year Book, is the first I’ve ever seen related to the work, but as you can see by the caption, there’s not much detail here either. It’s printed between two pages about the Japanese Universalist Convention, but there’s no reference within that convention’s entry.

Sunday School and Church Groups Our First Work in Korea -- Summer of 1926
Sunday School and Church Groups
Our First Work in Korea — Summer of 1926

Can’t wait to get the 1928 Year Book.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. I had heard about this mission before, its link to Universalism in Japan, and that the Korean congregation disappeared in the chaos of WW2. I’ve heard nothing about exactly how it came to an end.

  2. This is from Steven Rowe. He tried to post this, but the comment didn’t take. Thank to him for uncovering more of the story.

    (from 1932 Universalists Year Book)

    “In the summer of 1926 Korean students from the theological school of Doshisha University at Kyoto, Japan, spent their summer preaching in Korea. These two young men, Mr. Dzo (Cho) and Mr. Pak continued this work during the summer of 1927.

    After Mr. Dzo had completed his studies at Doshisha, he set out for Korea in the summer of 1928. The enthronement ceremonies for the new Emperor delayed his journey and kept him in Northern Korea for several months.

    Not to be daunted, however, he held services and conducted a Sunday School until he could continue his journey.

    In April 1929, Mr. Dso came to Taiku, a growing city, about as large as Rochester, New York, and the fourth largest city in Korea. He rented a house, and with no further equipment began his work.

    It was thought at first that no Sunday School could be held. But on April 7th, fifty-seven children reported for Sunday School and seven adults (three men and four women) volunteered for teaching. The little house was crowded, with no room for newcomers.

    Present activities: Sunday Preaching Services; Sunday School; Mid-Week Bible Class at Y.M.C.A.; Boy Scouts; Social Service Work.

    Mr Dzo is assisted by a native Bible Woman, Mrs. Shin.

    Taikin is an important educational center. Through the social service work of his church, Mr. Dzo endeavors to assist students who are having a hard struggle to get through the university. One of the best ways to help them is to provide farm work for their self-support while they are in school. Through the interest in this project aroused by Dr. Cary at the time fo the Buffalo Convention, the money to purchase a farm for this purpose has been raised and the project will soon be definitely under way.

    Another center has recently been established in Wulchon by Mr. Yee, formerly assistant to Mr. Dzo in Taiku. Mr. Yee conducts regular church and Sunday School services and his church is the only one in the district.

    The expense for the Korean work was met by Dr. Cary until the beginning of 1932, when the International Church Extension Board placed in its budget a sum to cover the cost of the work, thus relieving Dr. Carey of this additional responsibility which he had met out of his teaching salary.”

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