Christine J. Hong has been named Presbyterian Mission Agency’s new interfaith associate in the office of Theology and Worship. In her new role, Hong will work with Presbyterian congregations toward building deeper relationships with their multifaith neighbors.
“In the time since 9/11, the importance of interfaith relationships have become ever more critical,” says Charles “Chip” Hardwick, director of Theology, Worship and Education for the church’s mission agency. “Christine's ministry will be vital for the PCUSA. While her predecessor built relationships with top leadership of other religious traditions, Christine will focus more of her time on helping 2 million Presbyterians to do the ministry of interfaith relations in their own communities and neighborhoods.”
“I’m excited about the educational aspect of this position,” says Hong. “In our current climate of violence, fear, misrepresentation, and misunderstanding, it becomes critical for us to equip congregations to cultivate relationships with their neighbors of different traditions and religions. Making connections and developing community among people who sit in churches, mosques, and synagogues is the only way to get authentic interfaith engagement throughout the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).”
Born in Los Angeles and raised in Seattle, Hong earned degrees in communications and English literature from the University of Washington, and master’s degrees in divinity and theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. In May 2013 she will graduate from California’s Claremont School of Theology with a Ph.D. in practical theology, with a focus on religious education and spiritual formation.
At Claremont, Hong was at the forefront of groundbreaking interfaith consortium work. She helped organized the Center for Global Peacebuilding’s first national conference, which brought together top North American Muslim scholars and practitioners to share peace-building proposals and practical approaches to conflict resolution.
A second-generation Korean American, Hong says she has learned that integral to building interfaith relationships is working toward acknowledgment and reconciliation. “It’s about acknowledging how we have broken and been broken—working toward reconciliation simultaneously in both intrafaith and interfaith work.”