Q&A With Scholarship Recipient Seul-bin Lee

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Meet Seul-bin Lee, an international seminarian from South Korea. Before graduating from Candler School of Theology in May 2021, she received a matching United Methodist Dollars for Scholars scholarship from the Georgia United Methodist Foundation, Glenn Memorial UMC in Atlanta, and the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation. In this Q&A, Lee shares her plans for the future and what this scholarship has meant to her.

GUMF: Why did you choose to attend Candler School of Theology?
LEE:
I like Candler’s strong balance between practice and rigorous academic endeavors. The Contextual Education program was the primary reason why I chose Candler.

GUMF: What challenges have you faced as an international student from South Korea?
LEE:
 Adjusting to America politically and culturally was particularly challenging. To better understand the people I was serving at Gwinnett Medical Center, which was my first-year contextual education site, I had to learn pastoral counseling theories and political and cultural implications of America that impact individual suffering.

GUMF: Why did you feel led to pursue a Master of Divinity?
LEE: My call is to cultivate an environment where God’s compassion can be embodied by followers of Jesus, churches, and society. I am called to serve the church and the people of God.

GUMF: What are your plans now that you have graduated from Candler?
LEE: I will gratefully start my doctoral program: Ethics and Society program at Vanderbilt University. I hope to contribute to the intellectual life of the church with my research and teaching.

GUMF: How has Glenn Memorial UMC, which provided matching scholarship support, impacted your life?
LEE: This community has affirmed my calling and has given me so much support for my ministry. As my first home church in the U.S., Glenn Memorial UMC provided me with communities of belonging.

GUMF: How does your faith in God factor into your future?
LEE: I hope to use my gifts in teaching, critical thinking, and researching to contribute to the church’s intellectual life and people with Christian faith traditions. Specifically, I am interested in how lived experiences of oppressed communities can challenge our theo-ethical and moral concepts and how Christian traditions can help us to better understand the people’s complex moral agency.

GUMF: What did this scholarship mean to you?
LEE: The scholarship freed me from financial burdens and helped me to better focus on my ministry and school activities. It facilitated my spiritual, ministerial, and academic growth. Most of all, I felt affirmed as I realized that there are many people and donors who support my journey. Thank you.

GUMF: What would you say to all the people who made this United Methodist Dollars for Scholars scholarship possible?
LEE: I would like to express my gratitude to the donors at GUMF, my church, my school, and the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation. I am indebted to your endeavors to support my journey and growth. With less financial burden, I was able to spend my energy and time in ministry and my training at Candler, especially during the pandemic.

GUMF: How do you hope to give back once you graduate?
LEE: I hope to share the love and support that I have received from other people by teaching and mentoring my future students.