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Gloria Kymn feels welcomed as pastor of Marysville United Methodist Church

Gloria Kymn feels that her role as pastor at the Marysville United Methodist Church is
Gloria Kymn feels that her role as pastor at the Marysville United Methodist Church is 'a match made in Heaven.'
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Gloria Kymn's road to Marysville began in Seoul, South Korea.

Kymn stepped in as the new pastor of the Marysville United Methodist Church after Tom Albright stepped down this June, but she's been serving as a pastor since she was still attending school during the 1990s. Her father was a Methodist minister for 40 years, but because Kymn grew up without women ministers as role models, she saw herself going into teaching before she received her calling.

"I was even a fashion photographer in the '80s," Kymn laughed. "I eventually responded to my call very reluctantly, but God has affirmed that call every day since."

Kymn described herself as the child of a family of achievers, including doctors, lawyers, engineers and four other pastors. She attributed much of her faith to her family, but also credited the many mentors she had through seminary and the process of ordination with helping to strengthen her sense of the church itself as an extended family.

"I've been blessed with the people I've had in my life," Kymn said. "I see it as my role to help provide a family of God through the church, that's unconditionally loving and accepting."

Kymn has since mentored seminarians of her own, which she considers easier than when she first came to America after high school. Because the English language skills she'd picked up in her classes in South Korea were for passing tests rather than speaking conversationally, she spent so much time studying conversational English once she'd arrived in America that she only slept four hours a night her first semester.

"I still got a 4.0 GPA," Kymn laughed.

Her family had moved from South Korea to Georgia, where her father was invited to start a Korean Methodist church. By contrast, coming to Marysville has hardly been an adjustment for Kymn at all.

"The United Methodist Church works on an appointment system, which is very different from a congregational or invitational system," Kymn said. "As part of the Annual Pacific Northwest Conference, I was appointed the pastor for Marysville after they'd studied the needs of this church and my gifts as a pastor."

Kymn was accustomed to city living, so she wasn't sure at first how she might handle her new hometown, but as far as she's concerned now, she needn't have worried.

"It's been a match made in Heaven for me," Kymn said. "I'm loving it. Marysville has the charming feel of a small town, with its caring and hospitality. I'm the first ethnic woman pastor at this church, but they've just welcomed me into their lives. That says a lot about both the congregation and the community."

Kymn praised the Marysville United Methodist Church for its long-running programs, such as the Summer Jubilee and Kloz 4 Kids, which she likewise sees as evidence of the congregation's community spirit.

Looking ahead, Kymn believes that the church can help its followers cope with the challenges of the modern world.

"The world is changing so fast, at such an unimaginable speed, that you might wonder how we as believers can respond to these changes," Kymn said.

According to Kymn, the Methodist church equips its followers with a number of resources, including the Bible, years of Christian and Methodist traditions, a diversity of theological perspectives, the power of reason and the experience of worship.

"God has given us the brains to ask questions, but also to live with unanswered questions," Kymn said. "Of course, you can talk about the theories and ideas, but without the experience of a living, loving God, it's not complete."

To that end, Kymn invited community members to attend the Marysville United Methodist Church's Sunday services, at 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. at 5600 64th St. NE, where she will do her best to add new names to those of the 200 parishioners whose names she already has memorized.

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