Diversity and gender equality is an integral part of the eight million member United Methodist Church. The August 3 celebration of the 20th anniversary of the National Association of Korean-American United Methodist Clergywomen exemplified both those characters of the church.
The Rev. Kyunglim Shin Lee, president of the association, explained how meaningful and symbolic the early August meeting was.
“These gatherings were very important to us because it was the only channel that we felt free to talk about our pain and struggles as women clergy in the Korean community,” said Shin.
According to the United Methodist News Service, President Bush also addressed the attendants, congratulating them for their endurance and accomplishments.
Shin Lee, who is the vice president of the United Methodist-related Wesley Theological Seminary, said the Association grew 50-fold in the past two decades.
The organizing meeting included “two clergywomen and a few seminarians,” Shin Lee said. “Now we have 100 ordained women.”
The attendees of the conference wore ‘rainbow-colored stoles’ made of traditional Korean fabrics – a gift from the Association of Korean Clergywomen in Korea which will be celebrating its 50th reunion of the ordination of the first clergywoman in Korea next year. Members of the US-based organization have been invited to the celebration as well.