When Algonquin students in residence were seeking a spiritual leader to guide them in their Christian walk, Philip Kim stepped up to help.
“I think being able to minister and help college students is so vital,” said Kim. “Especially those who come a church, there’s no doubt their faith will be tested. Usually, I find a young person going through college or university they can in fact solidify their faith and grow up to be really great Christian adults. Reaching out to them is important for the future of the church.”
From 2012 to 2014, Kim was a member on the board of directors for campus ministry because he was helping to lead Bible studies in the Woodroffe residence beforehand.
“We had two good years of Bible study there,” said Kim. “While I was meeting these students in their dormitory people our presbytery also heard of my involvement. They asked if I could be a member of the board for campus ministry at Algonquin.”
While on the board, Kim was on the committee responsible for hiring the current campus chaplain, Yuriy Derkach. Kim’s main duty was to be a liaison for the Presbytery of Canada to ensure that campus ministry had the financial support they needed.
Kim is no longer a board member, having given that up this fall, but he still has his day job as the assistant minister at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church where his involvement with Algonquin students began.
“My participation on the campus life started when a few students from Algonquin who were living in the dormitories approached our church,” said Kim. “They were out-of-towners and looking for a church, so they came to St. Paul’s. They immediately liked our church and we struck up a good relationship.”
The students informed Kim there wasn’t any kind of Bible study group in the residence. They asked him if we would get involved and help them start up a weekly gathering somewhere on campus.
Kim has been running the young adults group at St. Paul’s since 2008, so the students met him when they were directed into his class and enjoyed their time learning with him that Sunday morning.
“That’s how I got involved,” said Kim. “It was both from students who wanted me involved in their campus life and my own interest there. It was also from our presbytery and wanting me to bring a Christian and Presbyterian presence there.”
During their first year, the group had eight to ten regulars coming out each week for Bible studies and singing. In the group’s second year running the number of people attending regularly dropped to four.
After that they had to stop for about a year because the students who started the group had graduated and moved on.
With the group long gone and other responsibilities popping up, Kim decided to end his time on the board before the fall semester began this year. However, a part of Algonquin still wanted to be in his life.
“Somehow, God brought new life to my involvement with Algonquin,” said Kim. “There was a whole group of students from Brazil here at Algonquin on an exchange program. They learned that St. Paul’s was quite close to their campus, so they started checking out our church.”
There are currently 10 students who attend church at St. Paul’s regularly on Sunday mornings.
In early November, the group went on a retreat to Mount Tremblant for the weekend. Eight of the 10 exchange students decided to go on the retreat and spend the weekend relaxing, playing in the snow, and getting to know each other and the students from the church.