By Steve Sears
Jin Kook Kim, installed as pastor of Little Falls United Methodist Church on July 1, has embraced his new church community.
Kim says regarding his selection, “We had a New Jersey conference, it’s statewide. At the conference we had a Bishop, a superintendent for each district, and we have nine districts, nine superintendents, and one Bishop. And the Bishops with the superintendents will send a pastor to a church.”
Kim, previously an associate pastor at Grace United Methodist Church has served the church in various pastoral roles at various churches since 2004, had found a new home. He came along just in time. Little Falls United Methodist Church celebrates its 175th anniversary this year, and he’d like to plan a celebration.
The Little Falls United Methodist Church story begins, per the church website, under a large tree in Little Falls, and the group that met there eventually held intimate services in a small schoolhouse located on Main Street between Lincoln and Paterson Avenues. Over the years, various construction projects were necessary to accommodate a growing church community. A new church building was built in 1900-01, and an addition was added in 1926. In 1948, the Sunday School pupil count increased congregation and Sunday School, and church membership reached over 500 in 1954. In 1955, a new, two-story education building was added to the chapel. A new sanctuary was added in 1968 and 1969, and an administrative wing in 1999. Shortly thereafter, a Memorial Garden graced the property. Today, through the years of the before-mentioned renovations and additions, it is a large structure and gathering place that welcomes 130 members of its congregation, most who primarily live in Little Falls, Totowa, and other nearby areas.
Kim isn’t shy about relating what Little Falls United Methodist Church members do for their fellow members and the community.
“This church does many things for mission work,” says Kim. “We have Sunday worship at 10 a.m. [their lone service of the week], and in special seasons like Lenten season we will have Ash Wednesday services or Good Friday services. Like other churches we have those worships.”
Little Falls United Methodist Church has many activities and ministries. Sunday School is an important one for children.
For the kids, Kim states, “We also have confirmation class, we have Treks & Gems for K-12 kids, and we also have the ministries of the missions. We have the (Community) Food Pantry, the CUMAC (Center of United Methodist Aid to the Community) which is located in Passaic, which provides food and clothing, so we’ve joined in that. We also have a very strong United Methodist Women organization, and that group helps many people.”
The ladies hold a hold a diaper drive for babies, help out babies and the moms, and do additional mission work, such as a backpack drive for kids in Paterson.
“We really try to get involved in the community,” says Kim. “CUMAC and food pantry are the ones we really get involved in. During the Thanksgiving holiday, we make Thanksgiving baskets to give to the local community; we already started the drive for that holiday for 2018.”
“We have made the worship a little more family friendly and kid friendly,” he explains. “Usually when kids come to the church, they are with us and start the worship together, and after they have the children’s songs and message they go to the Sunday school. We changed the order of the worship a bit, so the kids can be in the big church only for what they need. They don’t need to listen to all the announcements and all that. Also, during the worship we have contemporary music; I play guitar, my organist plays the piano, and we sing. It’s Christian music. We used mixed hymns, so the younger generation can listen to the music, which is good for them. So, we are trying to do that.”
Little Falls United Methodist Church is a hospitable place, and it welcomes visitors, outsiders, and new members to worship, some originally from distant lands.
“Our congregation is mostly local people, but we also have an Asian a family, a family from Africa and Zimbabwe, and family from Europe from Poland,” he says. “So, we welcome all people.”
Kim is very clear for regarding the mission of his church, and the universal United Methodist Church and well. As a man of God, he adheres to the words, and urges his faith community to follow the guidance as well.
He says, “UMC has a mission statement: ‘Making disciples of Jesus Christ, for the transformation of the world.’ That’s from Matthew 28:19-20 (Go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you). All the UMC have the same mission statement. It is our goal and our mission, and it describes why we are here. That’s why we look to engage in the community, it’s why we have the worship, and that’s why we provide Christian education for the next generation.”
He then adds in closing, “To achieve the goal, we’d like to become a welcoming community of faith, hope, mission and outreach, sharing Christ’s love. This is our (Little Falls United Methodist Church) mission statement…this indicates who we are.”
For more information about Little Falls United Methodist Church, like a detailed history of the church and activities at the church, visit www.littlefallsumc.org or contact the church at firstname.lastname@example.org or 973-256-0993.