▲ Photo courtesy of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province
Jeju, which is famous for its three abundances, has a church famous for its three absences. It is ‘the Pilgrim’s Church,’ found on Olle 13 trail, Yongsu-ri, Hankyung-myeon, Jeju-si. The area is 8 square meters. There is no regular worship, no pastor to serve, and no church members to attend.
It is known as the smallest church in Jeju Island. It was built from small donations by Olle trail walkers on an unused plot of land donated by a farmer. Volunteers of faith helped build the chapel, which was finished on July 21, 2011. This church has an average of 50 visitors per day. A total of 70,000 people visited the church so far. One in three visitors is a non-Christian.
The Pilgrim's Church can be found when you walk along the narrow farm road from Yongsu-ri intersection on the Seobu Ilju Road to the Yongsu Reservoir (Seobu Reservoir). The narrow gate into the church courtyard is made out of a stone wall. A normal height person would have to bend down to enter. The pine trees and the plants that were planted in the year when the church was built are well rooted and continue to grow.
The exterior of the building was erected using basalt rock in Jeju, and a fence was made out of the stone wall. Parts of the church is made of wood, forming a simple and soft aesthetic. It is designed to convey the feel of Jeju and is quite welcoming. It is a spot worth visiting, and passersby are bound to take a look inside.
The Pilgrim’s Church is open to all, regardless of religion, and serves as a resting spot for those who walk the Olle trail and the Pilgrim’s trail. There is a guestbook for visitors in one corner of the chapel, and on the shelves, past guestbooks are neatly stacked together.
Behind the church there is a sign saying "Pilgrim's Chapel, God bless you Welcome."
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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