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Marion Pope, a registered nurse, served with the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK) in South Korea for 36 years.
“Hold the gospel and culture in creative tension.” These words of her teacher, Dr. Katharine Hockin, guided Marion, who became a well-known and respected teacher and writer about mission.
“Our questions relate to the struggle to reconcile the truth we see in the gospel with the values of the culture in which we are living and working,” says Marion. “Those going to partner churches overseas are all trying to learn how the gospel is understood and being lived by the people of that partner church…. We were not being sent out to change others or to achieve an end. We were being sent out to learn, work, and live with other people under the direction of the church to which we were sent.”
As a nursing educator, Marion took this challenge seriously and taught the traditions of Korean nursing, which had been replaced by Western medicine. “[Marion] gave us insight into how to develop nursing in the Korean context: ‘Don’t just borrow from the West,’ she told us. ‘Use your own Korean perspective.’ We learned from her that Korean nursing has much to offer. Her influence is still being felt,” notes Professor Lee Won-Hee of Yonsei University College of Nursing.
Says Marion, “Everything I have done and taught and lived in Korea and Canada was my attempt to reflect the missiology I was taught by Dr. Katharine Hockin and the diaconal ministry taught at the Centre for Christian Studies.”
Source: The United Church of Canada
Photo credit: The United Church of Canada Archives