|SFTS welcomes 33 students from U.S., Korea, Ethiopia, Ghana and Philippines|
San Francisco Theological Seminary’s relationship with Presbyterians in Korea continues to bolster student enrollment with half of the new Doctor of Ministry students originally from that country. Besides Korea, other countries represented in the new incoming class of Masters and Doctor of Ministry students include Ethiopia, Ghana and the Philippines.
“SFTS’s global reputation as an academically rigorous, engaging and inclusive community continues to attract students from around the world,” SFTS President Jim McDonald said. “It is always inspiring to see students, new and returning, who are eager to be personally stretched and intellectually challenged, ready to engage with scripture and tradition, and open to the work of the spirit.”
Among SFTS’s 33 new students, 15 will begin studies in the Master of Divinity program, the first professional degree for pastors. More than half of the new M.Div. students are members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). SFTS is one of 10 seminaries affiliated with the PC(USA) and the only one on the West Coast.
McDonald said he is moved by the works of faith many new SFTS students have already been involved in before they even stepped foot on campus.
Jihun Kim, born on the Korean island Jeju, begins the M.Div. program after serving as a missionary to refugee orphans in China. While ministering to the children, Kim realized he needed a stronger theological foundation and education to more deeply preach the Gospel.
“I had come to a decision that in order to help communities grow and mature, I needed to grow as well,” said Kim, who joins the SFTS community with his wife and three sons. “The two years of missionary life in China has been the most significant turning point in my life. I have a desire to become a missionary who fulfills both the physical needs of the poor and their spiritual needs.”
Kim was encouraged to attend SFTS by Rev. Dr. Kang Hack Lee (GTU PhD). They met through the Dail Com¬munity, a Korean-based Christian nonprofit organization that feeds hungry people in several Asian countries.
Bentley Stewart, who has lived in Florida and Arizona, is already experienced in pediatric chaplaincy. He first attended SFTS nine years ago, but left seminary after a year to work full-time and help his wife raise their two sons. He’s returned to San Anselmo with his family to complete his M.Div. degree and explore the possibility that he is called to serve as a pastor.
Stewart was pushed to return to SFTS by alum John Herman (M.Div. ’87, D.Min. ’02). Herman was Stewart’s pastor at Desert Palm United Church of Christ in Tempe, Ariz.
“SFTS has always been sacred ground for me,” Stewart said. “When I first came here for Inquirers’ Weekend, I remember being on Geneva Terrace and knowing this is the place for me. I wanted something that would be rigorous academically, but I also wanted an experience that would connect head and heart.”