Home > report > Report on the Asian American Symposium at Fuller Seminary: Young Lee Hertig

Report on the Asian American Symposium at Fuller Seminary: Young Lee Hertig

November 16, 2009
Apologies to Young Lee Hertig for the delay in posting this report… Tim Tseng

The Inaugural AAES Epiphany
By Young Lee Hertig, Director of ISAAC-SoCal/AAWOL (Asian American Women On Leadership)

The dream of gathering one of the most scattered group, Asian American Christian leaders, came true when the inaugural Asian American Equipping Symposium kicked off on November 2-3 at Fuller Theological Seminary.  Initial idea came from ISAAC’S Executive Director, Timothy Tseng, who began lectureship circuits in Northern California with various Universities.  In implementing the vision, as fellow African American pastors would say, “When you don’t have teeth to chew, gum it” relying on daily divine whispers and riding along the whimsical wind of the Spirit.

The first whisper in implementing the dream came through a meeting with Howard Loewen, Dean of School of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary.  When the Dean announced his fall Sabbatical, the new partnership emerged with Fuller’s Office of Alumni/ae and Church Relations turned  dream possible.  Tirelessly everyone in Mary Hubbard Given’s office devoted their time to the details of the two-day event—lecture, panel, breakout session, banquet, and luncheon.

The Program Highlights

The keynote speaker, Dr. Jonathan Tran, an Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics,  framed the lectures of the past and future of Asian American churches with “both and” paradigm, not “either or.”  It was the right frame to contain multiple facets of bridging the inaugural AAES aimed.  Bridging both theologies with the Asian American churches, the past with the future, and diverse intra Asian American ethnic groups, Tran walked us through the interpretive path that was so rich in its contents and candor in delivery.  Participants were captivated by vivid biblical narratives resonant with Asian American journeys.  The panel responses on Monday included three school faculty and Asian American pastors: Jehu J. Hanciles, Mark Lau Branson, Miyoung Yoon Hammer, Ken Fong, and Michael Lee.   We are so grateful for panelists taking their busy time off to deliver their insights.

Monday evening was the Asian American Leadership Banquet  and 160 people filled the room, Payton 101 at Fuller Theological Seminary.  At the 11th hour, the Women of Four (Mary Hubbard Given, Bert Jacklitch, Bonnie Stevens, and Young Lee Hertig) decided to change the banquet venue from the Rose Tournament House to Payton 101 to accommodate everyone who wanted to come to the banquet.  We apologize for those who didn’t have time to check the last minute email sent out when we changed the venue for the banquet.  At the banquet, President Rich Mouw almost turned his keynote address, Theological Imagination With Asian American Churches” in interpretive dance after Ashley Thaxton’s liturgical dance to the song, “In This Very Room,” sung by Debra Williams.  We almost believed that he might since Mrs. Phyllis Mouw was present

On Tuesday Tran covered why Asian American Churches are the Future.  The panelists were Charlene Jin Lee, Timothy Tseng, Charles Lee, Melanie Mar Chow, and Benjamin Shin.   Gender issues in Asian American Churches, addressed by Charlene Jin Lee, in particular captivated everyone.  Tran continued dialogue by email exchanges with Jin Lee even after his return to Texas.

The breakout sessions with Jonathan Wu and Melanie Mar Chow’s leadership, were divided into four To let you know, we will have four topics for discussion and strategic thinking:
1.  The future of AA pastoral leadership
2.  The future of AA women in ministry
3.  The future of the intergenerational AA church
4.  The future of theological formation in AA churches

Jonathan and Melanie expressed their appreciation of the deep level of engagement and learning happening in all of the groups as Jonathan Tran and the panelists paved the way for some serious interactions in our breakout groups.  We are grateful to you all for navigating the direction toward constructive conversations and substantive outcomes.  We deeply appreciate participants recommendations with the clarity to keep traction and momentum going forward.

Last but not the least, the inaugural AAES was possible through sponsorships of local churches, para-church organizations and friends.  ISAAC appreciates all of your financial support that made our collective dreaming possible.

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  1. December 17, 2009 at 8:44 am

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