Princeton, NJ, January 15, 2014–The Reverend Jake Kim, Princeton Theological Seminary’s director of alumni/ae relations, will travel to Korea from January 20–28 to visit churches and seminaries. The purpose of his trip is to lay the groundwork for a May visit to Korea by Dr. M. Craig Barnes, the recently installed president of Princeton Theological Seminary.
Kim will engage Princeton Seminary alumni/ae as well as leaders from Korean churches and seminaries. His schedule includes meetings with members of the Princeton Seminary Alumni/ae Council and with representatives from Jang Shin (Presbyterian College & Theological Seminary), Yonsei University Divinity School, Torch Trinity Graduate Seminary, the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK), and other institutions with ties to Princeton Seminary.
“We look forward to celebrating and strengthening our ties with our Korean alumni/ae and the Korean church,” Kim says. “President Barnes is eager for me to explore ways that Princeton Seminary can better serve its alumni/ae in Korea.” Kim, who was born in Korea and came to the United States as a child, is the first Korean American to serve as the Seminary’s alumni/ae director.
Princeton Seminary has long and deep ties with the church in Korea. The first Korean to receive a degree from Princeton Seminary was James Chung, who earned his Master of Theology degree in 1922. He was followed by many others. Today the Seminary has 82 graduates serving in Korea.
There are more Presbyterians in Korea today than in any other nation in the world.
Prominent Princeton Seminary graduates from Korea include Dr. Kyung-Chik Han, Class of 1929 and former pastor of the Young Nak Presbyterian Church in Seoul, the largest church in Korea. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the Seminary in 1985, and also won the distinguished Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. Dr. Sang Chang, Class of 1977 (Ph.D.) and a member of the Seminary’s Board of Trustees, was named a Distinguished Alumna in 2003. She was a professor and president of Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul, and was the first woman to serve as acting prime minister of the Republic of Korea.
Dr. Samuel H. Moffett, who was Princeton Seminary’s professor of ecumenics and mission from 1981 to 1986, was born in Korea, and went first to China and then to Korea as a missionary after his graduation from Princeton Seminary in 1942. He served as a missionary to the Korean church from 1955 to 1981. While in Korea, he was associate president and professor of Presbyterian Theological Seminary of Korea in Seoul. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Princeton Seminary in 1977.
Other Korean graduates who have been named Distinguished Alumni/ae of the Seminary include Chai Choon Kim, founder of what is now Han-Kuk Theological Seminary; Lak-Geeon George Paik, former president of Yonsei University and minister of education of the Republic of Korea; Hyung-nong Park, who founded the Presbyterian General Assembly Seminary in Seoul; Chang Whan Park, former president of the Presbyterian College and Seminary in Seoul; Joon Surh Park, dean of Yonsei and president of the Old Testament Society of Korea; and Timothy Lee, the first Korean ordained to ministry by the Presbyterian Church (US) and the first Korean minister sent back to Korea by that denomination as a missionary.
Princeton Seminary was the first seminary in the country to establish a Program for Asian American Theology and Ministry. Dr. Sang Hyung Lee, a native of Korea, joined the Seminary faculty in 1980 and was the program’s first director.
Princeton Theological Seminary, founded in 1812, is the first seminary established by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. Its mission is to educate leaders for the church of Jesus Christ worldwide, and its more than 500 students and 11,000 graduates from all fifty states and many nations around the world serve Christ in churches, schools and universities, healthcare institutions, nonprofit agencies, initiatives for social justice, mission agencies, and the emerging ministries of the church in the twenty-first century.