Response: July/August 2014 Issue

Assembly, Soul to Seoul

Assembly, Soul to Seoul
Scranton Center women join U.S. women modeling paper derbies at Assembly.

The story of the Scranton Women's Leadership Center delegation coming to the United Methodist Women Assembly in Louisville, Ky., from Seoul, Korea, embodies the event's "Make It Happen" theme and opportunities made possible by generations of the trailblazing women who preceded us. It brought full circle our Christian history and the vision and re-envisioning that calls us to mission action today.

Central to our history is Mary F. Scranton, the first female missionary to Korea, sent by the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of The Methodist Episcopal Church 129 years ago. The Scranton Women's Leadership Center, a United Methodist Women mission partner, bears her name and continues her legacy of nurturing women leaders for church and society by providing academic scholarships and programs for women across Asia.

Fourteen young women from the Scranton Center began preparing for Assembly in January, meeting twice a month to explore two questions: what does social justice have to do with our faith? and can we make it happen? During these meetings, we acknowledged our privilege of higher education and discussed how this enables us to contribute to our society and the world in ways our grandmothers and, for some, our mothers could only dream about. As we journeyed to Assembly, we revisited our Christian heritage and experienced the early missionaries' passion and spirit of making the impossible possible as a change agent for our globally connected world.

The women talked about their experiences at Assembly. Here are some of their voices:

  • Hye-In Lee: "'I am here to be inspired!' This was my answer when asked to name my hunger during Assembly opening plenary worship. I was able to see how women have the power to act in faith, hope, love in action. I could see United Methodist Women as people who believe God, who love their neighbor, who work for peace and justice, and who desire a better world to make something happen in the future."
  • Joo Hyun Ahn, lecturer, Christian studies: "At Assembly I realized that women can do anything with others in the name of Christ. I want to use the ability that God gave me to contribute and help people in need. These gifts are not mine but are gifts given by God. In the name of God, Christians can make a meaningful and peaceful world."
  • Eun Chong Baek, theology, Meth-odist Theological University: "Through the United Methodist Women Assembly, I was able to see my deep roots as a Christian woman. I went to Baewha Women's University, a school started by Josephine E. P. Campbell, a missionary sent by Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, South, in 1898. I was able to connect her deep faith in God to United Methodist Women. United Methodist Women members are dedicated to the vision and mission of God. I am so proud that I can join with the United Methodist Women."
  • Rachel Eunbi Cho, international trade, Baehwa Women's University: "I could see the passion of God's people at Assembly. Prior to coming to Assembly, my thoughts about what I could do in my church, society or nation were more limited. Now I can better see my own potential to change the world working alongside God's people. I have more interest and expectation about what God will do in my life."

As the program coordinator for the young women from Scranton Center, I felt the impact of Ms. Scranton's commitment to her life's work in Korea throughout my time at the Assembly. Witnessing the thousands of women from all over the world organize, worship and plan together for a common mission, I could better understand the empowering spirit and passion that first catapulted the Methodist Woman's Foreign Missionary Society into action, responding to the direct circumstances of women. Whether it was in the small exchange of conversation with strangers while making Kentucky Derby hats out of tissue paper or dancing on stage with elder Korean American women in the Experience Hall or being led by an all-woman band and worship team into the spirit of worship, we were living out the power of human relationships, allowing our visions to be shaped and molded toward a greater vision that was started long before we existed.

At Assembly, the women from the Scranton Women's Center for Leadership Development were living our history and turning this into action. As Mary Scranton had done for our country more than a century ago, the young and elder women from Korea, and the larger body of the United Methodist Women were all engaging with each other to serve the world, to make it happen!


Kelly Lee is an intern at Scranton Women's Leadership Center, a United Methodist Women-related institution in Seoul, Korea.

Posted or updated: 6/30/2014 11:00:00 PM
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