(Left) Hyewon Hyon, recipient of a Global Ministries World Communion
scholarship, stands with Dr. Seong Ai Yang, professor of New Testament
at Chicago Theological Seminary
Scholar Works to Transform Church and Society: Hyewon Hyon
Hyewon Hyon, recipient of a Global Ministries World Communion scholarship, is a candidate for ordained ministry in the Northern Illinois Conference and will graduate with an M.Div. from Garrett-Theological Evangelical Seminary in May.
By Sandra Brands
The scholarship Hyewon Hyon received from the Global Ministries World Communion program will enable her to graduate with a master of divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in May 2014. Hyon, a ministerial candidate in the Northern Illinois Annual Conference, hopes to make a difference as a pastor in a local congregation and by working to eradicate the systemic factors that perpetuate discrimination, poverty and injustice.
“Racism, sexism, poverty are things that humans create, but they are not just an individual thing,” Hyon said. “Sin is a very individual concept, but, at the same time, individual sin is really affective to society on a collective level…However, removing one specific thing that results in the word ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ cannot fix the whole world.”
“As a result of this thinking, as a pastor, I have reached the answer that I should change people’s minds first. Let people know what is good and why that is good. People have the potential …to hope that they can change the world for the better.”
Born in South Korea, Hyon has personal experience with cultural injustice. Raised a Buddhist, Hyon said her parents wanted to have a boy to carry on the family name. “I am a girl and that means in Korea I was not valuable,” she said. “No one told me I am priceless.”
“When I became a Christian, the Bible said Jesus died for me,” she said. “That means I am priceless enough to have his sacrifice.”
Hyon believes that the church can work to combat systemic evil by recognizing the inherent value of all of God’s children. She said, “As a pastor, I would love to devote myself to rid the world of systemic evil.”
That will take changing systems, she said, especially in the redistribution of wealth and the eradication of racism. She wants to begin by educating people about the systems that maintain political, economic and social injustice. It is through education, she said, the people gain the capacity to make the world a better place.
Hyon thinks the church must adopt a more radical concept of mission. “It’s important to do more than meet basic needs,” she said. “We need to change the systems that keep people poor and weak. Christian mission should be build upon good, thoughtful consideration and care for people.”
“Christianity has the possibility of making a better world in which everyone has an opportunity to live a better life, and Christian mission has the responsibility to create a space in which people gather together, learn what is right or wrong, fight against the wrongs and flourish with others,” she said.
Her scholarship has been a blessing, Hyon said, by giving her time to study. “By studying theology, I can educate myself and can educate the world as well.”
She also appreciates the connection she has made with other recipients of World Communion scholarships. “They are all over the world and work for their churches, countries and the world,” she said. “This is really a wonderful experience to see how God is at work with people all over the world.”
Gifts to the World Communion Sunday offering equip students in the United States and around the world to transform the church and their communities. This year, World Communion Sunday is Oct. 6.