Rev. Dr. Kil Jae Park is a Korean American who immigrated to the US with his parents at age ten.
He is an ordained elder in the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference and has been serving full time appointments since 2008, serving North Hunterdon UMC and Teaneck UMC before being appointed to Caldwell UMC in July 2023. He received his theological education at the School of Theology at Drew University (Master of Divinity) and Princeton Theological Seminary (M.A. and Ph.D. in Christian Education).
As a kid, he dreamt of becoming a professional soccer player or an architect, but he eventually responded to God’s call to ministry and has been in part-time and full-time ministry for 35 years. But in many ways, church ministry has been an inseparable part of his life as he grew up as a pastor’s kid, watching his parents serving churches all through his life. Surely, church ministry is not easy and there are many challenges to doing ministry. But he believes that loving God, loving people and serving God’s church is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling ways to live one’s life. And he is deeply grateful and feels truly blessed to have had parents who showed him this in their life together.
If someone were to ask, “What is ministry all about?” He would answer it by saying, “Helping people to learn and live believing that “Life is better together.”” Yes, life is better TOGETHER with God, with our neighbors and with God’s natural creation. That is the teaching of Jesus Christ in a nutshell who taught us by saying, “Love the Lord you God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul and with all your strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.” The greatest threat to life in our generation today is the rejection of God and of each other. People seem to believe that life is better NOT together but alone. And the greatest mission of the church is to demonstrate to the world the ways to live together in love, peace, and unity. But this cannot be done by human wisdom and strength alone, but only by God’s grace and truth. Yes, life is better together!
He and his wife Jee Young are blessed with two boys, Jeremy and Daniel, who have grown into wonderful young men. As a family, they are passionate about soccer and have travelled extensively to play in soccer tournaments when the boys were younger. He loves noodles, especially good Italian pasta, and golf.