Lived experiences of Korean American Presbyterian clergywomen within the Korean American Church

Eun Joo Kim, Fordham University


This qualitative study examined the phenomenon of the Korean American Church as it was lived and experienced by eight 1.5 and 2nd generation Korean American clergywomen of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. It also studied the phenomenon of their exodus from the Korean church in order to understand why they left and what would cause them to return. This research also examined the leadership styles of these clergywomen. The participants were interviewed in person as well as through online and their interviews were transcribed and mined for emerging themes. The women of this study experienced the Korean American Church as a place of social relationships, social service, social status, and cultural identity, as well as a place of faith formation. They found the strengths and weaknesses of the Korean American Church to oftentimes be one in the same, especially when the strengths are pushed to the extreme. The reasons why these women left the Korean American Church ranged from the personal to the systemic, but they all felt that they could not be fully who they are in the context of the Korean church. All the women of this study are open to doing ministry in the Korean American Church pending certain changes and conditions, and they all exhibited a collaborative style of leadership. This research revealed ways in which the Korean American Church can change and grow in order to retain, welcome back, and accommodate the leadership of Korean American clergywomen.

Subject Area

Religion|Clerical studies|Asian American Studies|Womens studies|Ethnic studies

Recommended Citation

Kim, Eun Joo, "Lived experiences of Korean American Presbyterian clergywomen within the Korean American Church" (2016). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10116311.