Interview with First Year Student – Hyunju Lee

Sarah Bennett: What were you doing before you came to McCormick?

Hyunju Lee: I completed my Master of Divinity studies at Hanshin University in Seoul. And then I did my pastoral internship for a year.

SB: So what degree are you studying here at McCormick?

HL: I am in my first year as a MTS student. It is the degree you need to go on for PhD work, which I hope to do. I just decided that I want to study further. I will be working on applications soon so that I can start applying to PhD programs here. I hope to focus on the New Testament, maybe the Gospels. I am taking a course on that right now with Dr. Tanzer and like it.

SB: Have you gotten connected with any churches in the Chicago-land area yet?

HL: Actually I worked for a pastor at a Korean immigrant church in Glenview, IL last semester. I really enjoyed working with the church Sunday school kids. I helped out with Vacation Bible School as well.

SB: What is one of your favorite things to do since moving to Chicago?

HL: I really enjoy visiting the different neighborhoods in Chicago, especially Pilsen because I love Mexican food! I have visited here before coming to McCormick, and visited with Hanshin alumni.

If you want to chat with Hyunju, she works in the mailroom!

Tisha Mason – First Year Interview

Tisha Mason

By Lowell Young

Quantisha “Tisha” Mason, a first year M. Div. student, isn’t your typical seminary student. Her journey from a “work” college in North Carolina to McCormick Theological Seminary is very interesting and quite unique. Some of what she did before coming to McCormick is not what most seminary students typically do. But then, there is nothing “typical” about “Tisha” Mason, as the following interview makes abundantly clear.

Lowell Young (LY): What was the journey that culminated in you enrolling here at McCormick?

“Tisha” Mason (TM): First of all, I met Wayne Meisel from the Center of Faith & Service in early 2013. Then I went to the World Council of Churches gathering in South Korea, where I met McCormick alums Kurt Esslinger and Hyeyoung and current McCormick students Ben Snipes and Vimary Cruz. They all talked about McCormick a lot. It was good to see McCormick students and alums so active in the World Council of Churches and that appealed to me very much. Listening to them talk about McCormick and watching how actively involved they were in the World Council of Churches events and programs played a huge role in me eventually deciding to enroll here at McCormick.

LY: What did you do prior to enrolling in seminary?

TM: I went to Warren Wilson College in North Carolina, one of only seven work colleges in the country, where the students both work and do service projects. My job was in the ceramics art studio, where I was a studio manager.

LY: What made you decide to attend Warren Wilson College?

TM: The school offered me the opportunity to study subjects in which I had a great deal of interest—Ceramics, Ceramic Sculpture, Metalsmithing and Bronze. If I have an interest in something, I go with it. If I have a way to do something I want to do, I’ll do it. I follow my gut on a lot of things and it hasn’t led me astray yet.

LY: I understand you are a licensed blacksmith. When and how did you take up that line of work?

TM: It was during my second year of college when I met all the requirements of being a blacksmith. Soon thereafter, I worked for a while as a blacksmith at Camp Falling Creek in North Carolina.

LY: When did you decide you wanted to go to Seminary?

TM: My major in college was religion. I already knew I was going to attend seminary someday. I just didn’t know when.

LY: As a student in the M. Div. program, what is it that you hope to accomplish?

TM: I’m in the M. Div. program with the goal of eventually being ordained in the PCUSA.

LY: How’s everything going so far?

TM: All right, so far. I see a lot of potential in the people McCormick is educating. There are a lot of people that I feel honored to know here. When I first arrived here, some of the people I met were so genuine and true with me; and if they are still part of my life 10 years after I leave here, I will be so grateful.

LY: What are your career goals after graduation and ordination?

TM: I have a lot of lofty dreams. Perhaps going on to get a Masters and a Ph. D. Parish work is also an option. Non-conventional ministry—such as working in the non-profit sector—is also a possibility.

LY: What role have Jesus and faith played in your interesting and very unique journey?

TM: I always feel like Jesus was in my heart and part of my life. But there always are times that I question my faith; but that’s when I grow in my faith even more. Those who don’t question their faith can be like lambs being led to the slaughter.