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Reflections on the Symposium at Fuller

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment

We had an exciting symposium at Fuller Seminary two weeks ago. Presentations and other information will be made available soon. To view some photos, go to this link: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=278672&id=18289178852&l=1f262fba1e

We are posting some initial reflections from Kevin Park and David Choi. Kevin Park is Associate for Theology in the Office of Theology and Worship, General Assembly Council of Presbyterian Church USA in Louisville, KY. David Choi is Senior Pastor of Praise Presbyterian Church in New Jersey. He received his PhD in church history from Princeton Theological Seminary. We invite others to share their thoughts, too!

Kevin Park:

One of my denomination’s (Presbyterian Church (USA)) confessions of faith includes this sentence:

“the Spirit gives us courage…  to hear the voices of peoples long silenced…” (A Brief Statement of Faith, 70).

It takes courage to hear the silenced voices but it takes more courage for those voices to speak out. During the Asian American Equipping Symposium: Living Out the Gospel II—Asian American History—The Lost Coin, a symphony of courageous, creative, learned, and passionate voices was heard, not merely breaking the silence but catapulting Asian American history, ministry, biblical and theological scholarship to new levels. I was especially delighted to hear from Asian American women scholars, leaders and writers who wrote the book Mirrored Reflections: Reframing Biblical Characters. One of the ongoing challenges doing ministry in many Asian American contexts is that Asian American women are often still doubly marginalized in male dominated ministries of Asian American churches. The contributors of Mirrored Reflections have woven their stories with the stories of women in the Bible that results in fresh and often startling interpretations that inform and empower Asian American women and men. It was also gratifying to witness so many young 1.5 and 2nd generation Asian American scholars and pastors who are giving a resounding and robust voice to the often quiet if not silent Asian American experiences.  The AAES was a gratifying experience that helped vindicate that Asian American Christianity in North America is embodied in thriving communities of faith with polyphonic voices that is multi-ethnic, multi-generational, and ecumenical, all grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

David Choi:

What remains with me is the pride I felt at seeing so many Asian American scholars engaged in this topic. While the research seems to be still in its infancy, it was great to hear from so many scholars doing good work and I look forward to their future contributions. I thought, overall, the speakers were relevant and helpful (some, of course, more so than others). I also like the plan of the symposium of having panels and then having responses to them. My one criticism would be that the responders to the panels were not sufficiently critical. They understandably lavished praise (often deserved), but they usually failed to raise the kinds of challenges that could have pushed them into deeper and more fruitful waters. Perhaps this is a reflection of the nature of Asian Americans to keep the peace?  I also benefited much from the table discussions. In the future, I would suggest slowing the pace a bit, especially toward the end. Our table was too tired after the last session and we stopped talking. And it’s too bad because I thought the last panel was the most interesting and I would have enjoyed a follow-up discussion. In any case, thank you again for organizing this and I hope to be able to attend the next one.

* * *

More reflections coming soon! – Tim Tseng

East Region Update from Rev. Dr. Andrew Lee

August 30, 2010 1 comment

Dr. Soong Chan Rah at New York Chinese Alliance Church

Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah gave two talks on his award winning book, The Next Evangelicalism, on July 17.  He spoke in the morning to a racially diverse group that had assembled at New Brunswick Theological Seminary (NBTS).  His lecture was so well received that nearly his entire shipment of books was sold afterwards!

The evening audience at New York Chinese Alliance Church (NYCAC) in New York City  consisted of more church leaders and fewer ministers and professors. Nevertheless, there was a good response to Professor Rah’s challenging ideas.

ISAAC would like to thank NBTS and NYCAC for hosting and co-sponsoring these talks!

2010 interns with Dr. Andrew Lee

The ISAAC Summer Internship program was held over an eight-week period with five interns from churches in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and suburban New Jersey.  As was the case last year, it was a revealing encounter for these interns to experience church life outside their own neighborhoods and to share ideas about ministry with each other. Selected readings from the ISAAC Asian American Reader were discussed as well as studies on “calling.”  Special services on the concept of “call” were held at the participating churches at the end of the program.

Information on the Certificate in Asian American Youth Ministry and the Discernment Conference can be found at this link.

Rev. Andrew Lee, Ph.D [email me]
East Region Director
Institute for the Study of Asian American Christianity
Adjunct Professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary & New Brunswick Theological Seminary
718 317-7930

Report: Art of Preaching in Asian American Settings workshop (NCal)

May 24, 2010 3 comments

The following is the report and raw data collected from the participants at the Art of Preaching in Asian American Settings workshop with Dr. Daniel L. Wong on May 13, 2010.

DOWNLOAD Art of Preaching Workshop raw data
DOWNLOAD Bibliography of Preaching in a Multicultural World, compiled by Dr. Daniel L. Wong

Over 50 participants attended this ISAAC Northern California event, which was held at the Chinese Church in Christ, North Valley. Most of the participants were pastors, ministry leaders, and lay preachers.

Dr. Wong provided a 20-minute presentation entitled, “Recent Trends in Homiletics and Implications for Preaching in the Asian American Church.” This was followed by a 45-minute discussion period where participants reflected on the outline and made recommendations for effective preaching in Asian American settings. Data from the eight discussion groups is found in Part 2 of the report. Rev. Dr. Karl Fung of Berkeley Congregational Church contributed a sermon that he delivered on Mother’s Day that reflected on how Christianity can engage Confucianism in East Asian cultural contexts.

Daniel has posted his outline, some recommended books, and links to his sermons and interviews relating to the topic of preaching. To view these resources, visit his home page at: http://www.tyndale.ca/~dwong/viewpage.php?pid=32

DJ Chuang interviewed Daniel shortly after our workshop at:
http://djchuang.com/2010/what-about-asian-american-preaching/ OR

Here is the link to Matthew D. Kim’s article on Asian American Preaching:
http://www.preachingtoday.com/skills/artcraft/53–kim.html

The general response of participants to the workshop was quite favorable. I think the opportunity to fellowship with fellow pastors and church leaders contributed to an enjoyable social gathering and a jovial atmosphere. Most also felt that we did not have enough time to engage the topic more deeply and therefore, were not able to “exegete” the Asian American distinctive carefully enough. I concur with this assessment. The large number of participants and short time frame made it impossible to get beyond the first question of declaring the importance of contextualized preaching in Asian American settings.

But that was not the only obstacle. Just about every Asian American ministry, theology, and scholarly gatherings that I’ve ever attended has been unable to get past the initial step. The fundamental challenge Asian Americans face is to create a relatively clear self-representation amidst our incredible language, cultural, and generational diversities. For example, using terms such as “yellow,” “Confucian,” or “shame” reflect East Asian contexts that South and Southeast Asian Americans do not share. I suspect that the only commonality we share is how we are treated or viewed by America. Our inter-generational challenges, our perceived foreignness, our shared history of anti-Asian discrimination are pretty much the only thing that we seem to hold in common. Can we truly create a new self-representation on this basis?

Another challenge relates to our theology. ISAAC and the participants in this workshop agree that contexualization is very much needed in our ministry and theological reflections. But to what degree do we contextualize? One generation of mainline Protestant Asian and Asian American theologians have come and gone (I think of Kosuke Koyama, C.S. Song, Jung Young Lee, Roy Sano, David Ng, etc.). Their theology is viewed with suspicion by many Asian American evangelicals for being too “liberal,” though I suspect most have not read these authors (their books are usually out of print and inaccessible). Without these pioneers in contextualized theology as resources, to whom can Asian American Christian leaders turn? No seminary in North America provides adequate resources for the development of contextualized Asian American theology and ministry (not even Asian language seminaries). So where can the next generation of church leaders in Asian American settings turn to if they seek to counter the assimilationist (and anti-global/anti-multi-cultural) assumptions in North American Christianity?

At least in the area of preaching, ISAAC Northern California’s next step will be to try to develop adequate resources. We would like to invite a few participants to meet, review the raw data, do some additional research, and draft outlines of resources that go beyond the first step. Please let me know if you’d like to be part of a small group to develop this preaching resource further! I look forward to hearing from you!

In the meantime, I thank all our participants for coming and making the workshop so enjoyable. I hope we will find more opportunities to fellowship and support one another in our ministries! I want to again thank our co-sponsors, the First Chinese Baptist Church of San Francisco, Chinese for Christ Church of Hayward, Chinese Church in Christ North Valley, Grace Covenant Community Church, Overflow Ministry, and Canaan Taiwanese Christian Church, for providing funds, resources, and hospitality for this event.

Again, our philosophy is to partner with you and your ministries in order to develop resources for ministry among Asian Americans – so we are counting on you to help strengthen this special work for God’s kingdom! So keep looking out for future ISAAC Nor Cal events and opportunities to partner!

Peace,

Timothy Tseng 曾 祥 雨
Executive Director, ISAAC
Interim English Pastor, Canaan Taiwanese Christian Church

ISAAC Year in Review, Part 2: People to thank

December 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Without the incredible good will and enthusiasm of our staff and volunteers, 2009 would not have been as exciting for us. We are grateful for the following staff, volunteers, and organizations for their support! – Tim Tseng

I. Staff and Volunteer Activities

Timothy Tseng, Executive Director

  • Adjunct teaching at Logos Evangelical Seminary and University of San Francisco.
  • Occasional preaching in Asian American churches in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Facilitated “The Leadership Connection” pastors of San Jose Asian American congregations group.
  • Served as “Church Whisperer” consultant at three SF Bay Area churches.
  • Served as mentor for Asian American young adults who are interested in pastoral or academic vocations.
  • Participant in the Asian North American Consultation of Theology and Ministry co-sponsored by Catalyst and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (May 17-20)
  • Spoke and/or led workshops at InterVarsity’s Following Jesus conference (Dec. 29-31, 2008), Evangelical Formosan Church North America Bridging conference (Feb. 19-21), Karin Workshop – Asian American Baptist Convocation (June 26), Asian Pacific American Religions Research Initiative (Aug. 6-8), Asian American Equipping Symposium at Fuller Seminary (Nov. 3), American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting (Nov. 7-10)

Young Lee Hertig, Southern California Director

  • Organized the Asian American Equipping Symposium at Fuller Seminary
  • Adjunct teaching at Logos Evangelical Seminary
  • Volunteer work with the Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the US.

Andrew Lee, East Region Director

  • Adjunct teaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and New Brunswick Theological Seminary.
  • Regular consultant for a Chinese church in New York.
  • Extensive Sunday preaching, primarily in Chinese churches.
  • Retreat speaker for churches in New Jersey, New York, Toronto and Boston
  • Advised pastors and church leaders.
  • Participant in the Asian North American Consultation of Theology and Ministry co-sponsored by Catalyst and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (May 17-20)
  • Attended the North America-Chinese Coordination Centre for World Evangelism meeting (Nov 30-Dec 4)
  • Led training workshops for churches.
  • Contributed an article to The Lamp Post (InterVarsity newsletter for faculty)

James Chuck, Bay Area Senior Consultant

  • Convened the first session of the ISAAC Research Seminar on September 24th.
  • Completed editing Volume III of Chinatown Stories of Life and Faith. 60 persons connected with the First Chinese Baptist Church in San Francisco talk about parents, growing up, schooling, work, marriage and family, and faith and values.
  • Made several public presentations on the 2008 Report of the Bay Area Chinese Churches Research Project.
  • Preaching in various Bay Area churches.
  • Began a small study of issues for pastoral leaders during their first two year in a new ministry setting.

Johnson Chiu, Equipping and Resource Center director

  • Published the ISAAC Advent Devotional and 40 Days of Prayer
  • Organized ER events and pastors’ retreat

Daniel Chou is the Art Director of INHERITANCE magazine, a publication for Asian American Christians. He also works in public relations. Daniel is a recent graduate of University of Southern California and is the principle layout designer for ISAAC’s publications.

Cyrus Lee is a recent graduate at UC Davis in sociology/ethnic studies and has hopes of going to grad school. He partly credits ethnic studies in transforming his relationship with his parents & how he understands the interwoven dance of faith and culture. His current research interest is 2nd gen. Asian American Evangelicals. He loves a good conversation over a bowl of pho. He has helped archive ISAAC historical material, set up a small young adult gathering in the Bay Area and one day hope to get around to blogging for ISAAC.

Steve Hu is a pastoral intern at Rutgers Community Christian Church in Somerset, New Jersey where he coaches and develops leadership teams for effective ministry. In 2007, he received his dual Master’s of Arts in Old Testament and Missional Theology from Biblical Seminary (Hatfield, Pennsylvania) where he is also an adjunct instructor. Steve previously has worked as a technical writer and a newspaper reporter in central New Jersey. His research interests include Asian American theology, postcolonial studies, identity, race and ethnicity.

Jooho Lee is an MDiv student in his last year at Princeton Theological Seminary. Jooho began working with Young Lee Hertig this summer as an intern, bringing his business background in assisting ISAAC-SoCal with various projects and initiatives, including preparations for the Asian American Equipping Symposium at Fuller. He continues to assist Young in communications as a volunteer Communications Analyst for ISAAC – SoCal. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in history and political science, and he will be returning to Union Theological Seminary in New York to finish his MA in theology next year.

The following volunteers will have much to share soon…

Marie McCulley (Northern California), Danny Yang (Atlanta), Jonathan Wu (Los Angeles), Melanie Mar Chow (Los Angeles), Hannah Lee (Los Angeles), and Randy Choi (Los Angeles).

II. People and organizations to thank [incomplete list to be updated]

  • AAWOL: Deborah Gin, Beverly Chen, Melanie Mar Chow, Chloe Sun
  • ERRC: Martha Chan
  • Evergreen Baptist Church: Ken Fong, Jonathan Wu
  • Evangelical Formosan Church: James Yu, Sean Lin
  • Inheritance Magazine: William Tseng, Daniel Chou
  • Logos Evangelical Seminary: Ekron Chen, Jeffrey Lu, Amanda Luu, Chloe Sun
  • SANACS: Jonathan Tan, Rebecca Y. Kim, Russell Jeung
  • Lecturers: Jonathan Tran, Fenggang Yang, Benjamin Pimentel, Catherine Choy, Rev. Lloyd Wake, Dr. Russell Jeung, Fr. Dennis Recio, S.J., and Nhuanh Ly
  • University of San Francisco: Kevin Chun, Jay Gonzalez, Barbara Bundy, Lois Lorentzen
  • U.C. Berkeley Religion, Globalization, and Politics Program: Sara Bamberger, Jonathan Chan, Jessica Owen
  • Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity: Joel Carpenter
  • Campus Crusade for Christ Epic Ministry: Tommy Dyo, Steve Hong
  • InterVarsity Christian Fellowship: Anna Lee-Winans
  • Southeast Asian Leadership Committee: Ken Kong
  • Others to be added soon…
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ISAAC Year in Review, Part 1: Accomplishments

December 21, 2009 Leave a comment

As 2009 draws to a close, we at ISAAC feel privileged to have been involved with so many activities to promote and support Asian American Christianity. This is the first of a three part “Year in Review” blog. Here, we share our happiest accomplishments. In the next blog, we will share the activities of the people who have helped ISAAC have such a successful year. In the third blog, which will be posted in early January 2010, we will list the donors and organizations who have done so much to support our work. So, without further ado, here are some accomplishments for 2009! – Tim Tseng

I. Publications [to order, go to http://bit.ly/ISAAC_Cafe]

  • Asian American Christianity: A Reader, edited by Timothy Tseng and Viji Nakka-Cammauf. [co-published with PAACCE] Visit aacreader.com.
  • SANACS Journal (inaugural issue), edited by Russell Yee. Visit sanacs.org.
  • Pilgrims at the Crossroads: Asian Indian Christians at the North American Frontier, edited by Anand Veeraraj and Rachel Fell McDermott [co-published with the Centre for Contemporary Christianity in India] visit asianindianpilgrims.com.
  • The 2008 report of the San Francisco Bay Area Chinese churches project, edited by James Chuck and Timothy Tseng.
  • The ISAAC 2009 Lenten Devotional, edited by Rev. Dr. Johnson Chiu.
  • Forty Days of Prayer, by Johnson Chiu

II. Events for Church Leaders and Pastors

Mar. 28, 2009
“Effective Asian American Young Adults Ministries workshop.” Sponsored by ISAAC’s Bay Area Equipping and Resource Center.

June-August, 2009
“Summer Ministry Internship program” in the New York City Metropolitan Area
In order to help meet the need for leaders for second-generation English language ministries in Chinese churches, ISAAC, under East Region Director, Rev. Dr. Andrew Lee’s leadership, initiated a paid internship program this summer in the New York metropolitan area. This program was funded by a grant from the Fund for Theological Education. Students contemplating the prospect of vocational ministry were offered the opportunity to serve in their respective churches in order to sample a taste of full-time ministry. See full report at: http://wp.me/p7DTu-4k

Sept. 21-22, 2009
“Chinese English Ministry Pastors’ Retreat,” Co-sponsored by ISAAC’s San Francisco Bay Area Equipping and Resource Center and the Leadership Connection.

Nov. 2-3, 2009
“Living Out The Gospel: Asian American Perspectives and Contributions: An Asian American Equipping Symposium” featuring Dr. Jonathan Tran, Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics at Baylor University, and local pastors and scholars. Co-sponsored by ISAAC So Cal (under Rev. Dr. Young Lee Hertig’s leadership) and Fuller Theological Seminary at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA.

III. Lectureship series

Through SANACS, the Institute for the Study of Asian American Christianity launched a Religion in Asian America Lectureship program with partnering colleges, universities, and seminaries. This program will bring scholars or community leaders with specialization in Asian American Christianity (or Asian and Asian American religions) to North American campuses to give lectures, talks, panels or presentations. The following was our 2009 program:

Jan. 13, 2009 “Transnational Transpositions: Evangelical Religion and Second Wave Chinese American Immigration” Dr. Timothy Tseng at California State University, Los Angeles, CA, Co-sponsored with the Eta Xi Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta lectures,

Feb. 3, 2009 “Transnational Transpositions: Evangelical Religion and Second Wave Chinese American Immigration” Dr. Timothy Tseng at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA, Co-sponsored with the Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA

Mar. 7, 2009 “China Pulse Lectures” Drs. Ying Fuk Tsang, Carol Lee Hamrin, Raymond Huang at Living Word Center, Milpitas, CA, Co-sponsored with ERRC-China

Apr. 22, 2000 “Christianity and Political Culture in North Korea: Challenges for Reunification” Dr. Jong Sun Noh, Professor of Christian Social Ethics and Peace Studies at Yonsei University, South Korea at U.C. Berkeley. Co-sponsored with the Religion, Politics and Globalization Program (RPGP) and Center for Korean Studies (CKS) at U.C. Berkeley

Apr. 27, 2009 “Christian Faith and Asian American Activism Panel” featuring Rev. Lloyd Wake, Dr. Russell Jeung, Fr. Dennis Recio, S.J., and Nhuanh Ly at University of San Francisco. Co-sponsored with USF Asian American Studies, USF Theology and Religious Studies Department, USF Center for the Pacific Rim at the University of San Francisco.

Sept. 23, 2009 “Religious Policies in the People’s Republic of China” featuring Dr. Fenggang Yang, Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, and Director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society, Purdue University. Dr. Fenggang Yang is the author of Chinese Christians in America: Conversion, Assimilation, and Adhesive Identities (Penn State University Press 1999), co-editor (with Tony Carnes) of Asian American Religions: The Making and Remaking of Borders and Boundaries (New York University Press 2004), and co-editor (with Joseph B. Tamney) of State, Market, and Religions in Chinese Societies (Brill Academic Publishers 2005). Co-sponsored by U.C. Berkeley’s Religion, Politics, and Globalization Program, Institute of East Asian Studies, Center for Chinese Studies, and Department of Sociology at U.C. Berkeley.

Sept. 24, 2009 “ISAAC Research Seminar” featuring Dr. Fenggang Yang and local researchers at Berkeley Chinese Community Church (Berkeley, CA).

Oct. 21, 2009 “Filipino Faith: The Role of Religion in Diasporic Communities in America and Beyond” featuring Joaquin Jay Gonzalez III, Associate Professor of Politics; Director of the Yuchengco Philippine Studies Program, University of San Francisco and author of Filipino American Faith in Action (New York University Press) and co-author of Religion on the Corner of Bliss and Nirvana (Duke University Press) and Benjamin Pimentel, author of Pareng Barack: Filipinos in Obama’s America; former reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. Co-sponsored by U.C. Berkeley’s Religion, Politics, and Globalization Program at U.C. Berkeley.

Nov. 2-3, 2009 “Living Out The Gospel: Asian American Perspectives and Contributions: An Asian American Equipping Symposium” featuring Dr. Jonathan Tran, Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics at Baylor University, and local pastors and scholars. Co-sponsored by ISAAC So Cal (under Rev. Dr. Young Lee Hertig’s leadership) and Fuller Theological Seminary at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA.

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

November 23, 2009 1 comment

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.

Summary of ISAAC 2009 Internship Program (East Coast)

August 27, 2009 3 comments

by Andrew Lee, ISAAC East Coast Regional Director [contact Andrew]

In order to help meet the need for leaders for second-generation English language ministries in Chinese churches, ISAAC initiated a paid internship program this summer in the New York metropolitan area. This program was funded by a grant from the Fund for Theological Education.   Students contemplating the prospect of vocational ministry were offered the opportunity to serve in their respective churches in order to sample a taste of full-time ministry.

ISAAC FTE internship program

ISAAC FTE internship program

The five ISAAC interns this summer were college students Rosalie Chung (Long Island Alliance Church), Jason Lee (Monmouth Chinese Christian Church), Daniel Shih (Boon Church, OCM), Jin Tian (Brooklyn Community Christian Church) and Joyce Wong (New York Chinese Baptist Church).  Jesse Eng (Grace Faith Church), a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, joined the interns for their weekly meetings.

The congregations represented by the interns are geographically diverse, ranging from suburban New Jersey to inner city New York to suburban New York.  It was an eye-opening experience for the interns to visit each other’s churches to see how ministry was conducted in a different setting and to learn how church space could be utilized in a new manner.

pastors and mentors

pastors and mentors

The students were guided and mentored throughout the summer by their pastor, by a lay leader in their church and by ISAAC Eastern Regional Director, Dr. Andrew Lee.  At the weekly meetings led by Rev. Lee, the interns discussed selected readings from ISAAC’s Asian American Christianity Reader, deliberated on the meaning of call, and bonded together as they shared, encouraged, prayed and fellowshipped together.

As a result of this summer experience, the concept of calling took on new meaning for each intern.  For some, the end of the internship does not signal the end of their service.  Jason, a spring graduate of Rutgers University, informed his church leaders that he was quitting his part-time job and volunteering the rest of this year to serve full-time in his church because his part-time job “gets in the way of ministry.”  Likewise Daniel, a recent graduate of Gordon College, will continue serving at his church until he leaves for a two-year pastoral apprenticeship in Australia next January.   Jin, a junior at Philadelphia Bible University, committed to returning to Brooklyn each weekend to assist at her church.

The participating pastors and lay mentors also had uniformly positive evaluations of the summer experience.  Each felt it was a worthwhile investment of their time.  It provided them an opportunity to guide, teach and train their interns and to get to know them better.  In turn, their own skills were sharpened by the experience of mentoring another person.

Another facet of this summer program included a worship service at each church where calling was the theme for that day.  Each church was challenged to instill a culture of encouraging its own members to consider vocational ministry.  Here, too, the pastors and lay mentors believe their churches were positively impacted.  Moreover, the entire internship experience has opened the eyes of church leaders and young people to the potential of leadership through young adults.  ISAAC will offer this internship program in the New York City Metropolitan Area again in the summer of 2010.