"Compassionately Accompany God's People": Why I Chose Yale - Jeongyun Hur M.Div '14

Greetings!  Every year we feature short essays from YDS students explaining why they chose to attend Yale.

Today’s comes from Jeongyun Hur MDiv '14, who came to us from Seoul Women's University in South Korea.  Jeongyun has live all over the world, from Austialia to South Korea to the United States and many other places besides.  She brings a deeply empathetic sense of compassion to her ministries, as she did when she was a student at YDS, and we could not be more proud of her.  Thanks Jeongyun!

Jeongyun Portrait

Before coming to YDS, I had a chance to hike with one of my professors at Seoul Women’s university, South Korea. She taught Old Testament studies and was a strong-minded person who hid her compassion beneath her few words. I was about to attend another prestigious divinity school.  While hiking the mountain near my school, we talked about family, relationship, life in academia, and discussed many intellectual and personal questions.

On the way back, she told me: “I will give you one last piece of advice. I know you are passionate in your quest to pursue intellectual questions, so you need to be in a place where academic excellence triumphs friendship and community. That’s the path that I’ve taken. But looking back on my academic journey, if I had the chance again, I would go to Yale. Yale has both! It is a traditionally rigorous academic institution and has a strong sense of community. I want you to be a well developed person, both compassionate and erudite.”

After some time, I ended up standing at the ‘green quad’ in front of a beautiful building with baked brown bricks called Yale Divinity School, conversing with people who came from diverse religious backgrounds and across religions and diversity within Christianity: I felt exhilarated at each expression of faith with its own distinctive traditions and history. As I began my journey as a Masters of Divinity student, my theological world unraveled as other religious and humanistic worldviews I studied challenged my own perspectives. I enjoyed exploring a wide spectrum of faith traditions and theologies and especially the continuous mutual evolution between them and their socio-cultural context. Although, at times, it felt like I was in a desert when I asked difficult questions pushing the boundaries of theology, I never felt afraid because of the staff’s supportive presence and guidance in encouraging students to explore.  

This entire intellectual journey would not have been possible for me, just as my professor had foreseen, without the support of the YDS community, such as the daily 10:30 morning chapel service, the intellectually passionate professors who are dearly compassionate to the students, the encouraging faculty members, my warm hearted peers, and our beautiful, serene library. I’ve tried to nourish the strong sense of community that I’ve learned from YDS at my church’s children’s ministry and my hospital Chaplaincy. Through my ministries, the theology that I’ve studied and grappled with in class and in the library becomes alive. Specific theological ideas become clearer as I try to compassionately accompany God’s people on their faith journeys, through their joys and sorrows, celebrations and struggles, hopes and fears, discoveries and questions.

As I embark my new journey, I cannot be more grateful to YDS for all of my experiences, from the struggles to the accomplishments, the times of questioning  to the moments of revelation, and from places of solitude  to the places of connection both in class and in my ministries. I can say with confidence that YDS has provided the fertile soil to help me develop both academically and as a human being, and within its challenging environment a shelter where I could rest.