Rev. Dr. Shijung Shim
Hello. I am Pastor Shijung. A few years ago, a Spanish-speaking friend taught me how to introduce my name. Simply say “she-is-young” and say it as one word so that you add the “j” sound to my name!
My first-hand experience in ministry began as a pastor’s kid in Seattle, Washington. As a younger generation Korean American, my role as a “PK” was to support my parents, who are first-generation immigrant pastors, and at the same time to connect with my friends, who were then members of the younger generation like me. This meant creating a welcoming place so that everyone—despite their generational and cultural differences—could come together to worship God because we are all children of God!
My childhood experiences must have influenced me. I attended a seminary and focused on pastoral care and counseling right after undergrad, and there my heart for ministry, which lies in pastoral care, began to develop. For me, the essence of pastoral care is to journey with my neighbors to seek the individual and communal purposes that God has planned for each individual and to gently restore them to the intentions of God and Jesus Christ for their lives. I am reminded of the verse, “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5, NIV).
These two images—creating a welcoming place and journeying with one another—describe my passion and response to the calling of ministry as a pastor. I feel a genuine sense of joy when I see the works of the Holy Spirit guiding each individual and our faith community. And I hope to be a leader who also experiences transformation through journeying with friends at Castro Valley United Methodist Church and doing the work of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!
Prior to Castro Valley, I served Segwang Church and Saesaram Church in South Korea. In the U.S., I served Green Korean UMC in Fremont and First UMC in Palo Alto. Recently, I finished my PhD dissertation on the feminist pastoral theology of mother love at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. I have a master’s degree in pastoral care and counseling from Yonsei University in South Korea and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Washington.
Because of my background as a Korean American, I enjoy Korean American spiritual practices such as fervent prayer, especially when visiting a prayer mountain. I also enjoy driving in the rain and sipping a good cup of latte with my favorite companion—which can be a book or a friend.