Asian American Christian Counseling Service announced on May 17 that it is closing after 34 years of service to the Asian American Christian community.
Pastor Cory Ishida, chairman of the New Dawn/AACCS Board, said the “heart-wrenching” decision was made to cease operations and close by June 30. Founded in 1986, AACCS has touched thousands of lives through an integrative counseling and psychotherapy program and strengthened more than a thousand people in ministry, including pastors, missionaries and their families.
“We are now in a season of ceasing operations and ‘finishing well.’ To finish well, we are going to need your generous help. We need to take care of our clients, therapists, staff, liabilities and indebtedness. Your finishing well donations will be received as offerings of thanksgiving for the thousands of lives that have been touched through AACCS. We hope you will read more here about what has been accomplished,” Ishida said.
“Even as we look to finishing well, we continue to have hope for the future. In John 12:24, Jesus said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.’ Jesus was referring to His death and subsequent resurrection.
“As AACCS is closing its doors, we are looking to the future. We believe that God will give birth to new ways of fulfilling the mission of AACCS. We are in the process of assisting our therapists open private practices. We will make available dedicated funds for member care of missionaries. We are developing ways of assisting pastors and their families. We believe that the Lord will give birth to ways of continuing the mission of AACCS.”
In a frequently asked questions post, AACCS cited multiple reasons for the decision, including the passage of Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) in January, which increased the financial strain by requiring all therapists to become employees rather than independent contractors. The COVID-19 pandemic also led to the cancellation of the organization’s fundraising luncheon and a loss in income due to shutting down all of its offices.
Executive Director Iris Wong noted that at an April 18 Zoom meeting, staff shared that they were drawn to AACCS by the “desire to provide Christian counseling, to care for missionaries and ministers.”
“These qualities in the staff and love for God are priceless and made our services so unique … I am so grateful to our board members who graciously provided training to our therapists on ‘How to Start a Private Practice.’ After their training and the all staff Zoom meeting, I sensed the elevation of morale and hope. I admire our staff’s persistent passion to provide Christian counseling and member care. Most of them are pondering whether or not to start a private practice in order to continue their mission. Please pray for our staff in this process,” Wong said.
Rev. Dr. Kuo-Liang Lin of Logos Evangelical Seminary offered a vision of the future for the mission of AACCS. The two organizations merged in 2015.
“Due to various reasons which are mentioned in the Finishing Well FAQ, the New Dawn Board decided early this year to dissolve AACCS. However, Lord willing, we are convinced many cost-effective mini-AACCS programs will spring up around Southern California and other regions in the U.S.,” Lin stated.
“As for Logos, we will continue the mission of AACCS through training more ministers and church leaders for effective family ministry and pastoral counseling among Chinese Christian churches.”
AACCS has a request for its friends and supporters: “We rejoice for what God has done in the lives of people touched by AACCS. The results of this unique ministry will continue to bear fruit long after AACCS closes its doors. Psalm 102:18 affirms this confidence in our legacy: ‘Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord.’
“While we give thanks for what He has done, there remains work to do as a counseling agency in order to finish well and fulfill ethical and legal requirements. We must fund our closing expenses, debts and liabilities.
“Would you consider helping us one more time to reach the finish line and finish well? A gift of thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness, an offering for the work we were able to accomplish together in Jesus’ name?
“As you feel led, you may give to AACCS online (http://aaccs.org/help-us-finish-well/) or by mail with a check payable to: AACCS, 2250 W. Main Street, Suite 202, Alhambra, CA 91801
“All donations must be received no later than July 1, 2020 in order for us to process your receipts.
“Thank you again for this final investment and for your years of trust in AACCS. We are eternally grateful.”