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Dear <<First Name>>!

Everyday, paid tours of Chinatown wind through its alleyways with guides telling stories of exclusion, opium dens, and fortune cookie factories. I’ve taken some of these tours; my favorite was led by Gordon Chin, whom insiders call the “Mayor of Chinatown” (because of his advocacy work that’s made San Francisco a model for community development nationally).

As much as I appreciated those tours, they lacked seeing Chinatown from God’s perspective and an invitation to receive the Kingdom. To that end, InterVarsity’s (IV) Chinatown program is the most Kingdom-integrative, immersive Chinatown program I know of. Click here for a short video describing this program. 

Chinatown immersions are the preferred introduction to Kingdom Rice’s training. By God’s grace, I’ve collaborated with two of IV’s Chinatown directors in creation and delivery to bring KR's immersions to a level well beyond what I could have done alone. Our focus is different than IV’s once-a-year program that targets Asian college students. Kingdom Rice offers its immersion year-round to very diverse groups: pastors & therapists in training, seasoned pastors, mainline churches, evangelical churches, different ethnic groups, gay-affirming & non gay-affirming groups, charismatic & conservative groups, the young and the retired from across the U.S. Let me share the context surrounding two of these immersions.

Church planting students from Pittsburg Theological Seminary (PTS). City Church of San Francisco referred PTS to me after that church had a great Chinatown experience. Highlights with PTS included working with two of their professors and having Senior Pastor Fred Harrell of City Church participate. He commented how well the Chinatown immersion gave “feet” to an earlier lecture he gave titled “The Spirituality of Locality.” One student was challenged by the immersion’s “shame-reversal” motif because his gay-affirming ministry context assumed shame was something to be eradicated.  The immersion revealed how "shame-reversal" was ultimately accomplished at the Cross. Leading groups like PTS offer a special challenge because their more mainline church bibliographies are less familiar to my evangelical training. I'm blessed to be stretched outside my tradition and study. 

Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit is a local Chinese immigrant church that went on a Chinatown immersion with me. It so impacted their hearts that we followed up with a 3 day urban immersion into the Haight, Hunter's Point, and Chinatown, which are the traditional "hippie", African-American, and Chinese neighborhoods of San Francisco.  And THAT so moved participants that they planned a new retreat with yet another church. At that juncture, I trained pastors and local missionaries to lead it instead of me. In the meantime, I was invited to immerse a school of next-generation leaders from across different Lutheran Churches into Chinatown before segueing to classroom training. And in a couple weeks, I’ll be the Sunday missions speaker for their congregation, and that will be followed by fellowship meetings focusing on 1) loving LGBTQ neighbors and 2) work and worship.

Through these immersions and the forums that surround them, we’re widening people’s notion of theology, Bible, discipleship, and social justice in churches, missionary organizations, and seminaries. We have more opportunities than we have time for. We don’t want to be busy with the wrong things. Thus, our board is discerning where to focus our efforts so we can best springboard next generations to disciple others we have no access to. We want to see more people being and living the Good News that brings the antidote to not just guilt, but shame and fear.  Thankful for you!

Please don’t ever hesitate to contact me. Love, Steve Hong

Copyright © 2019 Steve Hong/Kingdom Rice, All rights reserved.

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