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Monday, April 23, 2007

Korean students pursue God and education at Yale Divinity School

An interesting profile of Korean divinity school students at YDS. Looks like Chris Tomlin really is popular everywhere.

The congregation continues to sway to and fro through four more songs accompanied by a five-person band. Here, at 9:30 a.m. on a Sunday, in a pew at the back of the New Haven Korean Church in Hamden, Conn., worships a cluster of Korean-American students enrolled at the Yale Divinity School (YDS). Yeon Soo Lee, DIV ’09, a boyish, bespectacled YDS student in his late twenties, has freshly arrived from Seoul. Lee is going to teach Sunday school after services today, and I am going to observe. He didn’t tell me it would be conducted entirely in Korean—a language that nearly everyone in this church understands, but that I do not.

The several Korean Christian churches sprinkled throughout New Haven serve primarily Presbyterian and Methodist worshippers. Ethnic churches may seem like a curious oddity, but in fact are part of a growing trend among Korean immigrants. Although Christianity arrived in Korea barely 100 years ago, the religion boasts unusually devoted followers. Like Lee, they leave behind families, friends, and promising careers in Korea to pursue theological studies 8,000 miles away in a quiet nook of Connecticut, on a grassy hill tucked behind several University science buildings in New Haven.

Read more here.

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