Occupation: Pastor, South Korea
1) What was your first connection with Mission 21 or Basel Mission?
Mission 21 has a long ecumenical relationship with PROK to which I belong. In my memory, in the mid-1990s, a pastor from Switzerland came to preach to the church where I was serving as a leader of Sunday school, and then I could hear about the relationship between the Swiss church and the Korean church for the first time. After that, I heard about the mission in 2007 when I first met Dr. Mi-Hyun Chung. At that time my church invited Dr. Chung as a guest speaker of female theology.
2) What have been your contributions to the empowerment of women?
I have been promoting Bible education to congregation based on feminist theology since 2005. Through that bible study, learning how to read the Bible with feminist perspective, and then participants have expanded various activities concerning women’s rights and gender equality. Unfortunately, Korean churches are still based on male-centered patriarchal system. However, in our denomination(PROK), the Gender Equality Committee has been promoting educational programs to prevent harassment, workshops of gender equality, and so on. In order to promote not only women’s rights but also LGBT rights, I’m the one of leaders of introducing queer theology to Korean churches. I’m participating in Rainbow Jesus which is a gathering of Korean LGBT Christians and their allies and also in Queer Theology Academy in Korea.
3) Why do you think the empowerment of women is important in the Faith Based Organizations?
Speed of change in a society is very slow, especially realizing the importance of gender equality, but churches are slower than the society. Women in the church have been eliminated in the process of decision making and treated as an assistant at church. In this kind of situation, the patriarchal church has become even stronger. In South Korea the interest in feminism has increased, as a result of a case where women were ruthlessly murdered near a subway station in 2016. Subsequently, in 2018, the interest for eradicating sexual violence is hot issue now in Korea with #MeToo movement. It is like a gender revolution. Under such circumstances, many women who belong to the church are raising questions of patriarchal churches intensely. Gender equality is an important task for restoring the image of God and establishing the essence of the Church. In the case of the Korean church, which has a strong conservative tendency overall, the process of educating and empowerment women is a necessary task to change not only the church but also the Korean society into a gender equality society.