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United Methodist Bishop Hee-Soo Jung to speak on Korean Christian spirituality in McDonald Lectures
Photo of Hee-Soo Jung

The 2023-24 McDonald Lectures of Candler School of Theology will be delivered by Hee-Soo Jung, resident bishop of the Wisconsin Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church. His public lectures as the McDonald chair will be held Feb. 28 and March 20.

Hee-Soo Jung, resident bishop of the Wisconsin Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church, will serve as Candler’s 2023-24 Alonzo L. McDonald Family Chair on The Life and Teachings of Jesus and Their Impact on Culture. In this role, Jung will present public in-person lectures on Wednesday, Feb. 28 and Wednesday, March 20.

The McDonald Lectures are free and open to the public with registration required. They will take place in Cannon Chapel sanctuary on Emory’s Atlanta campus.

In addition, Jung will present a public lecture on “Korean Christian Spirituality: Its Trace and Scope” on Thursday, March 21, at 7 p.m. at Korean Church of Atlanta UMC in Duluth, Georgia. No registration is required for this free event.

The lectures are made possible by the McDonald Agape Foundation.


Wednesday, Feb. 28: “Kenosis and Sunyata: Jesus Christ in Interfaith Context”

Cannon Chapel Sanctuary

11 a.m.–12:45 p.m. 

This lecture will focus on Jesus as encountered in interreligious dialogues between Buddhism and Christianity. For more than 40 years, Jung has been on an empathetic journey participating in interreligious dialogue pursuing the Buddhist Studies and theological investigations. Through encounters and conversations between different religions, the journey of Jesus once again touched Jung and resonated with him for an authentic spirituality and leadership journey. Registration is required for this February event

A grab-and-go lunch will be available in Brooks Commons following the lecture.

Wednesday, March 20: “Jesus’ Tears: Messianic Hope and Liberation in the Korean Diaspora”

Cannon Chapel Sanctuary

4–5:30 p.m. 

This lecture will deliver the basic tenants of Korean Christian spirituality and will survey the missionary presence and theological investigations among and through Korean diasporas in the global community. It will focus on YongDo Lee (1901-33), a pioneer and Korean Christian mystic who believed that no other spirituality could exist without the desperate love for Christ. In this sense, Lee’s faith and theology can be defined as the mysticism of the suffering Christ. Register now for this March event.

Light refreshments will be served in Brooks Commons following the lecture.


About Hee-Soo Jung

Hee-Soo Jung has served since September 2012 as the resident bishop in the Wisconsin Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, where he has played a key role in Wisconsin’s Imagine No Malaria Campaign. He previously served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area) and was instrumental in inspiring the Harvest 2020 movement in Northern Illinois, which resulted in many new faith communities.

Before his election to the episcopacy, Jung served as an elder in the Wisconsin Conference, where he was a pastor and a district superintendent. He taught and chaired the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Kangnam University in South Korea, and has also served as pastor of congregations in California, Texas and South Korea.

He is currently the president of the General Board of Global Ministry, chair of the UM Korean National Plan and a member of the Board of Directors for Bread for the World. Jung serves as a member of the Ecumenical Forum for Korea at Geneva, Switzerland, and is actively involved in Korea peace and reconciliation. He has served as faculty for the Two-Year Academy for Spiritual Formation since 2005 and has taught in various Five-Day Academy sessions in the U.S. and abroad.

Previously, Jung served as president of United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), and as a member of the Board of Directors for the General Board of Discipleship, the UM National Hispanic Plan, the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, and the General Commission on United Methodist Men. 

About the McDonald Chair

The Alonzo L. McDonald Family Chair on the Life and Teachings of Jesus and Their Impact on Culture is supported by gifts from the McDonald Agape Foundation, founded by Alonzo L. McDonald, a longtime trustee of Emory University. The McDonald Agape Foundation “supports lectures and other public presentations that deal creatively and imaginatively with the person and teachings of Jesus as they shape and form culture.”

Recipients are given a distinguished visiting professorship, in which they speak and teach in the focused area of Jesus’s effect on culture and conversely, culture’s shaping of the figure of Jesus.

Past McDonald chair lecturers include Judge John T. Noonan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; composer Alice Parker; art historian Herbert Kessler; historian and documentary filmmaker Randall Balmer; author James Carroll; Episcopal priest and bestselling author Barbara Brown Taylor; Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Garry Wills; Jesuit priest and film professor Lloyd Baugh; and theological scholars David H. Kelsey, David F. Ford, Walter Earl Fluker, Roberto S. Goizueta, M. Shawn Copeland, Luke Timothy Johnson and Christian Smith, among others. View a list of past chairs. 

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