Moments after the unveiling
Moments after the unveiling

Bust of the father of Methodism in Korea is a gift from Chungdong First Methodist Church.

Dance is part of the ceremony.
Dance is part of the ceremony.

October 2016 – A key figure in Drew University’s history is back on campus.

Theological School Dean Javier Viera
Theological School Dean Javier Viera

Situated between Seminary Hall and The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is a bronze bust of Henry Gerhard Appenzeller, the 1885 graduate of Drew Theological School who introduced Methodism to Korea.

The Rev. Dr. Ki Sung Song
The Rev. Dr. Ki Sung Song

The bust, which is mounted on a granite base, is a gift from Chungdong First Methodist Church in Seoul, South Korea, which Appenzeller founded in 1887 and remains vibrant today. Leaders from Chungdong and Drew and a great-grandson of Appenzeller dedicated the statue with words, music, dance and prayer, including Chungdong’s senior pastor, the Rev. Dr. Ki Sung Song, and the artist who sculpted the bust, Elder Changgon Kim. The ceremony began inside Craig Chapel and ended outside by the statue, with attendees posing for photographs with it.

The celebration underscored the enduring bond between Korea and the Theological School, where one in five of its students come from Korea. Key to that bond is Appenzeller, a missionary who, with his wife, Ella, spent 17 years in Korea. Appenzeller not only established Methodism in the country but also helped modernize its culture and institutions.

“Appenzeller was a visionary and a passionate believer in the truth that the gospel of Christ could literally transform,” said Javier Viera, dean of the Theological School. “He was also a man who was open to being transformed. For we know from his own writings that while he may have gone to Korea in the hopes of converting a nation, he himself was also converted by the hospitality, the faithfulness and the love of the people of Korea.”

Picking up on Viera’s point, John Huyler, a great-grandson of the Appenzellers, noted that within six months of their arrival in Korea, they had opened their home to students and Henry had baptized the first Korean man and woman.

Such intimate connections gave rise to the broader relationship between Drew and Korea that continues today. As University President MaryAnn Baenninger put it, “The stories of the University, the Chungdung First Methodist Church and Korea are deeply intertwined. Your voyage here today marks one more gold strand that weaves your homeland with ours and that weaves Chungdong church with the campus of Drew.”

Another example of that Chungdong-Drew connection? The Appenzeller Chungdong Scholarship, which the church established in 2012 and has been awarded to five students.

The Chungdong leaders spoke eloquently and passionately about the qualities that distinguished Appenzeller.

Song noted Appenzeller’s “pioneer spirit” and Kim said he had a “countenance of an ambassador of love and peace.” An inscription accompanying the statue says, “We who are in debt to the gospel remember his holy life, honorable sacrifice and promise to foster his mission values.” And that’s certainly a spirit that remains inspirational today—114 years after Appenzeller’s death.