Heritage Sunday 2002
Heritage Sunday
Reformation Sunday
Church Historian
Writing congregation histories

PHS Gift Shop

Korean text: Matt. 10:7: 'Go and proclaim...' Witness the Good News: Our Mission Heritage in Korea


east gate
View of Seoul from the Great East Gate, 1893 (detail). Click photo for enlargement.
Called the Hermit Nation due to its reputation for isolation, Korea was not as open to the introduction of Christianity as other Asian countries. Knowledge of Christianity first came to Korea via tracts smuggled in from Chinese Catholic mission workers. As this new religion began to take hold, the Korean government ruthlessly persecuted Christian converts. Not until the 1883 treaty with the United States, was the country open to outside influences and religions. In a land where Christianity was outlawed, the skill and bravery of Dr. Horace Allen, the first Presbyterian missionary in Korea, and other early missionaries, opened the door for Presbyterian missions.

Evangelism to the native population was the focus of the work of the Rev. Horace Grant Underwood who was assigned to Korea in 1885 by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PCUSA).

picture of first PCUS missionaries
The first PCUS missionaries to Korea (detail). Click photo for enlargement and additional information.
Interest in mission work to Korea, encouraged by Horace Underwood's lectures during his first furlough home, spurred four men to apply to the Executive Committee of the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) serving this new mission field. In 1892, the PCUS sent seven missionaries, including Lewis Boyd Tate, to Korea to establish a mission.

The PCUSA missions primarily focused their work in the northern provinces as well as Seoul while the PCUS formed missions in the southwestern provinces. By the early twentieth century, Presbyterian work grew to include education to native and foreign children, hospitals and medical clinics, and an active Korean Presbyterian church.

picture of Sunday School rally
Sunday School Rally, 1913 (detail). Click photo for enlargement.
Adams preaching the Gospel
James E. Adams, preaching the Gospel in his yard, 1899 (detail). Click photo for enlargement.

<<previous | Heritage Sunday 2002 | next>>
Part 1: The First Presbyterian Missionaries in Korea
Part 2: The Tates and the PCUS in Korea
Part 3: Educational Efforts in Korea
Part 4: Ecumenical Efforts and the Korean Church