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Rev. Sook Hee and K.J. Bae
KJ and Sook Hee ended mission service with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 2012.
About Sook Hee and K.J. Bae's ministry
Rev. Sook Hee Bae and Kook Jin (K.J.) Bae serve in Seoul, South Korea. Sook Hee works with the Women Ministers Association (WMA) of the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK). As facilitator of the Women Ministers Association, she provides a ministry of compassion with battered women and to teenagers. Another part of her ministry is working to empower PCK women clergy by offering continuing education, professional counseling, and workshops on the role of women’s ministry. K.J. assists Sook Hee in her work.
The WMA has a membership of more than 2,000. Since women’s ordination began in 1995, More than 800 of the members have been ordained to the ministry of Word and Sacrament. As a response to the lack of a retirement plan for women ministers, the WMA has opened a rest home for retired women ministers. The WMA also runs a shelter for runaway juveniles to offer them an alternative to the world of prostitution into which they could be drawn.
In 2001 the WMA opened a shelter for victims of domestic violence. In addition to these projects, the WMA also offers educational programs and ecumenical activities and helps women ministers and their churches.
About Sook Hee and K.J. Bae
Sook Hee was appointed to service in January 2000. At the time K.J., a chemist at the Crompton Corporation in Tarrytown, New York, was several years away from retirement. He continued to work in New York while Sook Hee began her service in Korea.
When in 2005 K.J. was offered the opportunity of early retirement, he did not hesitate to accept, and he moved immediately to join his wife in Korea. K.J. was commissioned as a mission co-worker in June 2008 at the 218th General Assembly in San Jose, California.
Born in North Korea and raised in South Korea, Sook Hee and K.J. moved to the United States while they were in their 20s and were the parents of three children. This move came close on the heels of a personal and religious crisis for Sook Hee, who learned that her biological mother had died giving birth to her and the people she had known as her mother and father were actually her aunt and uncle. After much soul-searching, Sook Hee says, she opened her heart to God and began to feel at peace with God, with the world, and with herself. “I certainly believe that God has a great plan,” she writes. That plan may have brought her full circle,as she now serves women and the church in her homeland. “I was sent back to Korea in the new millennium for the ministry of Korean women who are in trouble,” she says.
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Sook Hee was a certified dietitian and certified social worker in Seoul, Korea, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in food and nutrition at the Sook Myung Women’s University in 1967. She was the director of the Samuel Daycare Center of the River of Grace Foundation until she moved to the United States. She became a certified social worker in New Jersey in 1994. Sook Hee received her master’s degree in counseling from Montclair State University in 1996. She was employed as a social worker at the New York Family Service Center from 1996 to 1999. She received her Master of Divinity degree from the New York Theological Seminary in 1998 and continues her studies at the seminary. She received her Doctor of Ministry degree with a focus on domestic violence in May 2001.
K.J. has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, and a Master of Science degree in organic chemistry from the same university. His work was in special reactions of organo-metalic compounds, and he earned 42 U.S. and international patents related to plastic additives. In 2007 he earned a certificate of social work from the Department of Social Welfare in South Korea.
Sook Hee was ordained as a minister of the Word and Sacrament by the Presbytery of the Palisades in New Jersey in 1999. That same year she participated at the 211th General Assembly of the PC(USA) in Fort Worth, Texas, as a theological seminary advisory delegate. Sook Hee and her family attended the Presbyterian Church at Franklin Lakes in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, where K. J. is an elder. Sook Hee is a clergy member of the Presbytery of the Palisades.
Sook Hee and K.J. Bae are not accompanied by their three grown sons, Samuel, David and Joseph. Sam is a medical doctor and his wife, Jade, is a lawyer. They have four children, Sofia, Christian, Reyna and Ronin. David is an architect and his wife, Janine, is a lawyer. They have one child, Augustus. Joe is a partner in an investment firm and his wife, Janice, is a writer. They have four children, Owen, Daniel, and twins Sarah and James.
Sook Hee serves as associate pastor of YeJi Church, the memorial church of women’s ordination.
Sook Hee Bae - October 7
Kook Jin Bae (husband) - January 12