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Rev. Dongwoo Lee is a pastor and Christian theologian of the Presbytery of San Gabriel Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA). He is a passionate preacher and an excellent communicator. He is pursuing his PhD in Theology and Philosophy at the Claremont School of Theology. He is passionate about interpreting the Word in ways relevant to the lives of believers and contextualizing the living Word of God in a way that is still meaningful in postmodern times so that the saving message of Christ can be experienced with life-changing power. You have. Pastor Lee has pastored several Korean and American churches in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles area. He most recently served as the Associate Pastor of the White Congregational Church at Claremont Presbyterian Church (PCUSA).
Rev. Dongwoo Lee was born on May 13, 1979 in Seoul. He grew up in a Christian home, loved by his parents. He entered Seoul National University in 1998 where he majored in Economics in the Faculty of Agricultural Economics and Social Sciences. He got into the college he wanted so much, but he realized he was pursuing something else. “Then I lost my purpose in life. The moment I thought I had achieved my goal, I was lost. I knew there was something more God wanted me to do, but I didn’t know what it was then.” During this time he was in the university library from morning to evening and began to read all the books he could reach. Through those times, Rev. Lee was starting his intellectual and spiritual awakening, freeing himself from the narrow frame of thought that had been caught during his student days.
Rev. Dongwoo Lee read various books on philosophy and religion around the 3rd year of college and began to realize how limited his understanding of man and God he had previously had. He realized that the church he attended with his parents from an early age selectively preached the “gospel of prosperity” and ignored the rich Christian traditions and teachings. He left the church and he joined the Presbyterian Church, where he began to recognize and experience new aspects of Christianity. “It was an important period of recognizing the salvation of my life. At that time, I began to pray earnestly by clinging to God. God, what is your plan for me?” During this time, he took classes in philosophy and religion at the university, setting a new framework for perception.
After graduating from Seoul National University, Rev. Dongwoo Lee was selected as a KATUSA soldier and served in the military. This period was the most important period of his life. Rev. Lee was selected as a military chaplain and was trained as a pastor by performing a pastoral role by helping the chaplain. He provided faith counseling and pastoral care for KATUSA Soldiers as well as US soldiers. His own pastoral role is influencing not only American soldiers but also his fellow KATUSA Soldiers for good, and he finds himself a good fit. He was introduced to him by a fellow KATUSA soldier at the time and met Miji Kim, now his wife. They both attended the same church, but found out that they had never met. The two, who had a lot in common in terms of faith, continued to love each other as they became a place to depend on each other. After completing his military service, Pastor Lee transferred to Presbyterian Theological University (United Presbyterian Church in Korea) and studied theology. Two years later, he received a bachelor’s degree in theology from the Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and then began preparing to study abroad in earnest.
In 2008, he moved to the United States and entered San Francisco Theological Seminary. His journey of spiritual awakening continued in San Francisco. “It was a great adventure, a new world, an amazing experience.” Rev. Lee taught postcolonial theology, constructive theology, Theology of Organism, liberation theology, and Theology of Ecology, which could not be learned in the theological climate of Korea. , Catholic theology, etc., became acquainted with the flow of theology and studied passionately. “It was an important time for me to restructure and rebuild my theology and my faith.” After completing his Master of Divinity (M.Div) program at San Francisco Theological Seminary, he was ordained as a Presbyterian pastor. In 2013, he entered Claremont School of Theology. In his PhD in Theology, he began studying Christian theology and philosophy. There he became co-director of the Institute for Ecological Civilization in Korea.
After coming to Claremont, Rev. Lee belongs to the Presbytery of San Gabriel and serves as a member of COM (Commission on Ministry). For about a year and a half, he served as a member of the Administrative Plenipotentiary Conference and provisional moderator of the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Rowland Heights, mediating strife within the church and serving the saints. During his ministry in that church, he had to grapple with the difficulties of a divided church. As a preacher, Pastor Lee comforted the wounded members and delivered the living message of God. Despite his feelings of antagonism and division, he sought to be a mediator and reconciler for peace. “I didn’t want to leave them alone in the wilderness who seemed to be sitting helplessly. I wanted to convey the hope of the gospel of Christ to them.” Those times, albeit difficult and challenging, provided opportunities for him to gain persistence, consistency and resilience.
In 2016, Rev. Dongwoo Lee started his ministry as a pastor at Claremont Presbyterian Church. He was dedicated to planning and overseeing the church’s adult education program, providing sermons and sacraments, and building bridges of understanding and collaboration between the four churches that shared the church campus. “I try to get the opportunity to attend the services and programs of the four churches that share the campus, to build relationships, to find a common place where we can be together, and to rejoice in the gospel of Christ together,” he said. .
Rev. Dongwoo Lee was called as Head Associate Pastor/Lead Pastor for Korean Language Ministry at Pasadena Presbyterian Church in Pasadena, California, USA, and has been working on multicultural/cross-cultural ministry since 2017. Pasadena Presbyterian Church is a church belonging to the PC(USA) Presbyterian Church (USA), and it is a church that is making a model for multicultural/cross-cultural ministry, which is very rare in all of the United States. Pastor Lee Dong-woo started his ministry at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, dreaming of a ministry that is more inclusive, respects diversity, and is open to new things, realizing God-given possibilities.
In 2020, Rev. Dongwoo Lee resigned from the church and is focusing on his studies at Claremont School of Theology’s PhD program. At the same time, Rev. Lee Dong-woo is working for peace on the Korean Peninsula as a Co-Convener of the Presbyterian Peace Network for Korea (PPNK) affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). He is also Director of EcoCiv Korea (www.ecociv.org), where he supports and connects networks and activities of interdisciplinary, local governments and civic groups in the United States and Korea.
Rev. Dongwoo Lee’s Sermon Podcast
Articles and Interviews with Rev. Dongwoo Lee
Follow Rev. Dongwoo in Social Media