Korea’s “Church Compass” Reaches 1,OOOth Issue
Magazine Is Religious Guide for Korean
Seventh-day Adventist Church
By Choe, Jeong-Kwan, editor of Church Compass, writing from Seoul, Republic of Korea
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in South Korea celebrates the 1,000th issue of the monthly church magazine Church Compass.
Adventism came to Korea in a unique way—not through a foreign missionary, but through a native. In 1904 two Korean men on their way to the United States had a stopover in Kobe, Japan. Brothers Sohn Heung-Jo and Lee Eung-Hyun spotted a sign saying “Seventh-day Adventist Church.” They entered and met the assistant pastor, Kuniya Hide. After listening, they accepted the Advent message and received baptism. They were the first Koreans introduced to the Advent truth.
Brother Sohn Heung-Jo returned to Korea instead of continuing on. On the ship to Korea he met Lim Hyung-Joo (who later changed his name to Lim Ki-Ban). Sohn shared the Advent message with Lim. In turn Lim continued to share his newfound faith with others in Korea. After only one year of sharing the gospel message in Korea, 71 people were baptized and four churches were established.
The year 1905 brought Korea a missionary: W. R. Smith. The Korean mission headquarters was built in near Pyongyang (now SunAn Airport) in 1906. The Korean Mission was officially established in 1908 and then relocated to Seoul in 1909. Despite difficulties, Adventism continued to grow. They fervently reached out to fellow Koreans, and by 1916 had grown to 860 members with 18 churches and 32 places of worship as well as changing their status from mission headquarters to the next level. It was July of that year that the first issue of the Korean Adventist magazine, the Church Compass, was printed.
SHOWING THE WAY: Church Compass magazine staff, and
leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Korea,
hoist banner celebrating 1,000 issues of the monthly
publication for church members. The magazine now contains
the Korean edition of Adventist World as well.
The first editor was Mimi Scharffenberger. Despite the abnormality of the political situation and the persecution faced under Japanese colonialism, the Church Compass encouraged members. It contained articles pertaining to spiritual growth, encouraging words of faith, and news on mission activities within Korea and overseas. During this dark time the church was able to receive spiritual nourishment and maintain a presence in Korea because of the Church Compass.
By April 1941, the persecution from the Japanese occupation had become so fierce that both the Church Compass and theSigns of the Times magazines were forced to close. In 1945, when Korea was liberated from occupation, the Church Compass revived its publication.
In December 1951, in the midst of another war, the magazine went into a frenzied effort to continue publication. Because of the disturbances of the war, however, the publishing house could not resume normal operation, so they used other printing shops. Since that time the Church Compass has continued to print, and in October 2007 it reached the milestone of its 1,000th issue of publication.
The Church Compass shows the footprints of the Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church’s growth and development. It has become the standard and landmark of the Adventist Christian lifestyle and evangelism in Korea. The Korean Adventist Publishing House celebrated the Signs of the Times magazine’s 1,000th publication in 2003, and the Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church celebrated its centennial in 2004. This year the Church Compass is celebrating its 1,000th publication.
Presently the Church Compass prints 100-page magazines that include church works, local church news, articles on faith, and daily devotionals (for children and adults). It also includes the Korean-language version of Adventist World magazine.
More than 18,000 homes subscribe to the Church Compass. It began a “Voice-Eye” program service last year to assist blind, weak-sighted, and illiterate people so they can listen to the message from the printed text, using technology. This is the world’s second magazine to offer such a service.
The mission of the Church Compass is to uplift our Lord Jesus Christ and to help people to draw closer to Him so that they can go out into the world and share and spread the message of hope of the immediate advent of Jesus Christ.