Cross-Cultural, Urban, Reformed, Ecumenical

McCormick Announces 2020 Distinguished Alumni

07-30-2020

Ministry to Asian and Latino communities has been the life work of Nayoung Ha and Jorge Morales.

An ordained minister of PC(USA), Rev. Dr. Nayoung Ha received her Master of Arts in Theological Studies from McCormick, having previously earning a Master of Divinity from the Hanshin Theological Seminary in Busan, South Korea where she grew up. She went on to receive a Master’s in Theology and her Doctor of Divinity degrees from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. Rev. Ha came to Chicago in 2003 and has focused her efforts on immigrant and refugee rights, interfaith religious leader organizing, deportation defense, racial equity, language access, and voter rights protection for Korean/Asian American communities. 

Her work with undocumented immigrants and non-proficient English-speaking Korean/Asian American communities contributed to the law that made Illinois a sanctuary state and the creation of Korean-language ballots in Cook County and Chicago elections. She co-organized Protected by Faith, an ecumenical, interfaith, social justice network of religious leaders to protect immigrant and refugee rights. She has been a guest lecturer for McCormick’s Doctor of Ministry class, presenting “Systemic Racism and Human/Civil Rights of People of Color: Things that We Must Know as Ministers of Color in the U.S.” Rev. Ha currently works with the Chicago Board of Elections as a coordinator for Korean Outreach, providing language translation and promoting Vote by Mail for the city’s elections in Korean and Asian American communities.

The former Conference Minister of the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ, Rev. Dr. Jorge L. Morales earned his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from McCormick. From 1973 to 1975, while a student at the seminary, he helped to establish, and later coordinate the Hispanic Ministries Program, recruiting students, adjunct faculty and assisting in curriculum development. He continued to support the program after his graduation. Over his ministry career, Rev. Morales contributed to the establishment and founding of several church and community-based institutions, including San Lucas United Church of Christ, the Center for Community and Leadership Development, Latinas in Illinois, the First Congregational Church Preschool and Day Care Center, and Sembrando El Futuro/SELF (Sowing the Future) Youth Center.

Born in Puerto Rico, Rev. Morales became acquainted with the United Church of Christ when members of its Warren Congregation Church ministered to his family during the early years of their arrival in Chicago. Before serving as Conference Minister, he was the Associate Conference Minister for Stewardship and New Church Development and also served as Senior Pastor at Chicago’s First Congregational Church. He has taught and lectured at educational institutions, including McCormick Theological Seminary, Elmhurst College and Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary.