Ethnic Background: Korean
Conference: California Pacific
Probationary Date: 06/15/2003
Full Membership Date: 06/15/2005
Number of Eligible Quadrenniums: 2
1987 – Korea University B.A. Political Science and International Relations, South Korea
1992 – Presbyterian Theological Seminary M. Div., South Korea
2007 – Claremont Theological School MA. TS., USA
Present – Claremont Theological School Ph.D. Pastoral Counseling Candidate
From 1995-1998, I served as a part-time associate pastor at Christ United Methodist Church in Hawaii. From 1998-2000, I served as full-time associate pastor at Bell Memorial UMC. From 2001-2003, I served as an associate pastor at Woodland Hills UMC, and then I was commissioned as Provisional Elder and appointed as lead pastor to Barstow First UMC from 2003-2005.
Next, as Elder in Full Connection, I was appointed lead pastor to Grace UMC from 2005-2008.
Then from 2008 to 2016, I was appointed as lead pastor to Rowland Heights Bell Memorial UMC. And since 2016 to present, I have been appointed to Christ UMC in Honolulu, HI.
In addition to these appointments, I have served on the Board of Ordained Ministry for 12 years, and have served as the chairperson for the Korean Clergy Caucus both in California and in Hawaii. Moreover, I have served on the East District Committed on Ordained Ministry and currently serve in Hawaii DCOM.
Currently, I am serving as the chairperson for the Western Jurisdiction’s PIM (Partners In Ministry) initiative that networks 20 sponsoring churches with 24 recipient churches in need in our denomination.
Community and Ecumenical Involvement:
– 1995-1998 served as chaplain at Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, HI.
– 1998-1999 served as chaplain at City of Hope National Cancer Medical Center in California
– 1999-2002 served as chaplain at Loma Linda Hospital; also CPE supervising candidate, leading CPE groups
– 2003-2005 served on the board of Barstow’s Manna Homeless Shelter; also a pastoral care member of Barstow Veteran’s hospital
– 2008-2010 prayer invocation at LA City Council
– 2008-2014 chair of Korean Cultural Center in East L.A.
– 2016-present board of Hawaii’s ecumenical Global Broadcasting Station (radio)
– 2016-present principal of Korean Culture School in Honolulu, HI
– 2016-present advisor to Hawaii Korean American Association
Other Relevant Experience:
Why are you being called to the episcopacy at this time? What is it that you especially bring to the role of bishop with the current challenges facing our denomination and the Western Jurisdiction right now?
The call to the episcopacy is God’s holy calling, not of our own efforts. Even more so, this call is all the more serious and important for such as time as this when our denomination faces unprecedented theological struggles and various socio-economical and church membership and vitality decline. Among the many roles of the bishop, I feel called to a spiritual leader who helps focus the denomination to prioritize the revival of the local churches and spiritual growth of the members of our churches. I believe that the more difficult the times get, the local church must thrive and become the hope that inspires and leads the world to change for the better. As the bishop, I believe I will help bolster and serve to lead this revitalization of the local churches.
Despite all the various difficulties, divisions, and decline, our denomination may be facing right now, I believe that at the heart of the role of the bishop is to lead the churches to return more radically to the gospel of Jesus Christ. This must be the key to renewal and turning point for our denomination, as the local churches experience revival in focusing on growing in and living out the gospel.
In our Western Jurisdiction, we must strive to embrace the great diversity and differences of theological worldviews, and strive to remain united, and not entertain any notion of division. Truly our work as Christ’s church is one that is able to embrace variety of worldviews and help us move forward not in uniformity or conformity but in holy cooperation. I am proud of being a United Methodist clergy and believe that our denomination and its Wesleyan spirituality is the hope of the world when we continue to focus on evangelism, ministry, and mission of the church, and join the Holy Spirit in transforming the society. As a first-generation Korean American pastor, I am incredibly grateful to our denomination’s ‘Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors’ culture because it allowed me the opportunity for great ministry across cultures and diverse mission opportunities. I want to serve to continue our legacy by being a spiritual leader who builds bridges across diverse ethnic, cultural, and theological divisions within our churches, and help our churches to thrive through unity even in dark times, as an example for all the world to see.
Describe how the last two years have affected your ministry.
In the last two years, it seems that all churches struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic. Socially, spiritually, economically, and in the general quality of life, we all have suffered. However, I thank God that our ministry was able to be faithful to upholding the mission and ministry of church. Despite the unexpected setbacks, last year, our church was able to mobilize and raise up a tremendous effort to host a week-long World Missions Conference. We invited 20 missionaries from 10 nations. The missionaries shared the powerful testimonies of God’s work in the world and they found much needed comforting and strengthening time of restoration in Hawaii. We witnessed our church as a whole breakthrough into the next level of spiritual revival and vitality as our faith and love for God and dedication for God’s ministry and missions increased together. It was a turning point for us and showed us that by faith in God, even during a challenge like the pandemic, the church can and must experience greater spiritual strengthening and growth.
Continuing into this year, our church is looking forward with clear vision. Together, we dedicated ‘Revival 2030 Vision’, where we are dreaming to prepare the vitality of the church for the next 100 years by focusing on the next 10 years. I cast 12 vision objectives, six focusing on inward church mission, and six focusing on outward mission of the church. Among them our greatest and immediate focus and conviction is in revitalizing the next generation ministries. We have committed an increased budget and ministry focus to help our children, youth, and local English congregation ministries to thrive, hiring new pastors and reviving community programs such as Pepe Aina and AWANA programs, all for the sake of the future of our church and denomination. I believe such ministry movements need to become our denomination’s framework for our greater vision together.
Endorser: Woong-Min Kim
Relationship to Candidate: Former Sr. Pastor
I met Rev. Han 27 years ago for the first time when I was senior pastor at Christ UMC, Honolulu, and invited him to as part-time director for hospital ministry. Ever since, we have developed a loyal and mutually beneficial relationship, for which I am really grateful.
In all his ministries as pastor, he has proved to be fruitful both in local church and connectional settings. The churches he served experienced meaningful growth in number and spirituality. He and his wife Silhee, an accomplished pianist, are dedicated in church growth. For example, his church Christ UMC, has experienced significant growth in number and finance even during the pandemic, thanks to their dedicated service. He also served multicultural churches both in rural and suburban areas, overcoming cultural and language barriers. The members of those churches still cherish the memories from his tenure as pastor. His humor and an exceptional ability in sociability help him to be an effective peace maker in a contentious situation. The UMC in current situation definitely needs a leader like Rev. Han.
He has also proved his leadership in connectional setting, especially among Korean UM churches. As the current chair of PIM (Partners in Ministry), sponsored by the Western Jurisdiction Korean Ministry Council (Chair; Bishop Hagiya), he has brought together 44 churches in helping to support financially smaller churches.
Rev. Han will serve our churches well if he is given the chance to be bishop.
Endorser: Ann Kobayashi
Relationship to Candidate: Retired Former City Council member of Makiki, Hawaii
I have always been grateful for Rev. Eugene Han’s leadership and service not just to his church community but to the greater community in our city. When he was appointed as the senior pastor of Christ UMC in the city of Makiki that I represented, he was the first one to reach out to me. Since the beginning I could tell that he had a heart and vision for the betterment of not just his church but our city. He brought to my attention some of the immediate needs and dysfunctions that he noticed in our city. One was cleaning up the street in front of his church that had over time become a dump for household items. He led his church to fund a makeover for the street, planting trees where the dump used to be. He has led his church to have a respectable presence in our city. I was impressed when he initiated a fabulous appreciation dinner inviting all the city officials and public servants in the fire and police department. It was a wonderful occasion, and the church gave donation also to our public service departments. I know him as someone reliable and an ally to our city. I thank him for leading his church to go beyond just faith community and being beneficial for the society. I have seen his church run a few charity food and essentials drive for the public multiple times in the pandemic.
We are blessed to have him in our city, as he is raising exemplary members for the greater community.
Endorser: In Kwon Jun
Relationship to Candidate: Current Employee at Christ UMC
I met Senior Pastor Rev. Han when I was appointed as associate pastor (provisional elder) to Christ UMC, Honolulu HI, 2017. It was refreshing to meet a Korean Senior pastor who was also great at English and culturally was very widely well-versed across diverse ethnic/cultural groups.
Above all, he was very approachable and genuinely cared for the church, especially his staff.
Moreover, I was impressed that as a first-generation Korean pastor, he was very involved and a leader in our Annual Conference. In fact, I was so blessed to have him as a mentor who helped me to improve greatly as a leader and pastor. I admire his passionate and visionary leadership; his boldness for the gospel and God’s truth coupled with compassionate and joyful heart. I have witnessed first-hand how he was able to effectively and wisely deal with and bring positive change to our churches deep-seated fighting and division among church lay leaders. I have witnessed that his skillfulness, wisdom and trustworthiness as a great leader is rooted in his deep prayer life and strong faith in God. We are all blessed to have him as our Senior pastor and know that God will continue and do greater works through his life and ministry.