The Association of Presbyterian Church Educators, APCE, has honored McCormick alumnus, Je Lee, M.Div. '16, with its CONNECT Award. This recognition is given to individuals who serve in the field of Christian faith formation, inspiring others to connect to ministry in meaningful ways.
A teaching elder within the PC(USA), Rev. Lee serves as pastor of two churches in the Presbyterian Parish of Lawrence County – First Presbyterian Church of Bedford and Mitchell Presbyterian Church of Mitchell. Originally from South Korea, Rev. Lee lived in Winnipeg, Canada before moving to the U.S.
In choosing Rev. Lee for this honor, his deep understanding of scripture from multiple perspectives was noted as well as his ability to understand, communicate, mediate and connect parishioners with each other and to their own vocational calls. By leading people in this way, it's said that he makes ministry and the church about what everyone can do in response to Jesus’ call to follow his ways and serve others. By teaching and leading in this way, he has built skills, confidence and courage in his congregational leaders, creating a team model of leadership.
A former member of Knox Presbyterian Church in Naperville, Ill., Rev. Lee married his wife, Hannah, there. After graduating with honors from McCormick, he traveled to the Holy Land, India, Germany, France and Switzerland, expanding his understanding of world Christianity, participating in archaeological excavations in the Holy Land, and studying Arabic in Bethlehem.
Rev. Lee, his wife, Hannah, and their son, Samuel, have become beloved by the members of their two rural congregations because of their deep faith, care and commitment to the people in his congregations, and how he sees Jesus in them. The sincerity of his heart for ministry and God’s people is revealed in his devoted service to the church and its people. This authenticity gives him credibility when speaking hard truths about how the church must change. He challenges and teaches with fire, conviction and with love. This love helps people who may disagree with him, listen and see in him a different way to view the world, the church and scripture. He shares his own struggles and speaks about how he’s overcome them, not for the sake of boasting, but to help other see that they can do the same. Rev. Lee helps people see that people who don’t look like them, or live in cities, or have different backgrounds, may have more in common with each other than it may seem, and may even share the same concerns about the world and one another. Rev. Lee has taken his unique call and is helping to re-define what radical love looks like in the world today.
A link to Rev. Lee's award presentation on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, at 1 p.m. CST, will be made available.
More about the CONNECT Award can be found here.