Duk Hee, an ordained elder, was born in 1966 and brought up in a small country village in Korea as the youngest of three sons. His parents, devout Christians, were the most important influence on his character. Although they were farmers in the countryside, they implanted conviction and courage to practice the love of Jesus Christ in his life by means of their examples. Duk Hee graduated from the Methodist Theological University in 1993 with a degree in theology. He then earned his master’s degree from Wesley Divinity School in 1998, and his doctorate degree in ministry from Union Theological Seminary in 2001.
While at college, Duk Hee not only concentrated on accumulating academic knowledge, but also, along with some friends, devoted himself to helping the underprivileged such as orphans, blind children and tuberculosis patients. After graduation, he engaged in mission work in Zambia, Africa. It was a valuable time for him to establish his own conviction and philosophy about overseas mission based on the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. He was convinced that effective mission depends on the ability of the missionary to absorb other cultures and thought and establish good partnerships by mixing with the local people. After a year in Zambia, he changed his mission field to the Philippines in 1995. While earning his doctorate there, he taught Christian Leadership and Church Administration at Wesley Divinity School for a year. Through his teaching experience, he further developed his own leadership skills and came to better understand the importance of respecting others’ standpoints in trying to carry out God’s mission effectively in foreign countries. His eight years of experience in working with different people in Zambia and the Philippines as a missionary provided him with proficiency in English and enthusiasm for serving God’s people regardless of gender, race, nation, color, and possessions.
In 2002, Rev. Han came back to Korea to serve a local church with about 1,000 members as an associate pastor. While serving that church, he was asked if he was interested in serving a church in the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference, which had a sister relationship with the Central Annual Conference of the Korean Methodist Church. As a result, he received an appointment from Bishop Hae Jong Kim to serve a local church here and has been privileged to serve God through the UMC since 2004. As a pastor in America for 16 years, he has really enjoyed working with God’s people and learned a lot about culture, ministry, mission and administration which he believes will help him in leadership in his future ministry.
Duk Hee married his soulmate Eun Young in 1999. She majored in music education and piano at Ho Seo University in Korea. She had served her own church in Chunan, Korea for 10 years as a pianist before she was united with Duk Hee. They has two sons: Kyu Hyung, 20, a sophomore in college, and Kyu Hyek, 17, a senior in high school. They like sports, music, and art. Kyu Hyung plays violin and Kyu Hyek plays cello and both can speak Korean and English. Duk Hee likes singing, spending time with family and friends, gardening, and playing golf.
About Corry First United Methodist Church
Corry First is a congregation that has a long history of sharing the Good News locally, regionally, and internationally. The church has a desire to serve the community with the love of Jesus. This happens in partnership with other churches and Christian ministries in the area, valuing the unity that comes in the family of God. The church has a passion for international and local missions, providing significant prayer and financial support each year, including an annual Missions Conference.
Worship of Jesus flows through services in different styles, but with the common goal of empowering people to praise God. The many ministries of the church help people to know Jesus, grow in their love of him, and walk in obedience to him. The youth ministry reaches out into the community. It not only serves students in the congregation, but also helps many in the community know Jesus who never would have followed him otherwise.
Rev. Han’s education and experience in helping persons discover their spiritual gifts and employ them in service make him well suited for the leadership of Corry First. The congregation’s stated goal of involving lay persons in ministry and continuing its heritage of supporting global ministry match with many of Duk Hee’s particular strengths.