The new PastoraLab Online Cohort began with an orientation zoom on January 17th, 2022. This cohort includes a Lao American clergywoman, a Naga Episcopal clergywoman, Chinese American and Korean American clergywomen across three different time zones in the US. Joy Wong, the current PastoraLab Coordinator, who was present at the recent orientation shared her thoughts:
“Fifteen years ago, as an M.Div student, I joined a budding group called AAWOL (Asian American Women On Leadership). As we met together regularly over the months, we had big dreams as we brainstormed about all the different kinds of retreats, workshops, and other events that we could plan for other fellow Asian American women ministers who were not in our group. At that time, those dreams never took off. They were too difficult to pull off using only the volunteer time of Asian American women ministers with overloaded schedules. But now, scroll forward fifteen years later, with the help of some funding to free up the necessary time and talent needed to launch these programs, we now have PastoraLab! To be present at the Online Cohort orientation felt like watching a dream come true – not my personal dream, but the collective dreams of the core group of AAWOL women fifteen years ago! It was as if a seed that was planted long ago, which was long thought dead, suddenly sprouted – what a miracle!” (Joy Lentz Wong)
Beverly Chen It is a privilege to return to ISAAC and to join Young Lee Hertig as co-facilitators for the PastoraLab Online Cohort after the first AAWOL sister’s gathering which led to our collective work in Mirrored Reflections: Reframing Biblical Characters (2010). I still remember our motto as a community “ Never alone again.” This motto and ISAAC’s mission to support API clergy, scholars and leaders has been so empowering for many of us from the group. Members of the group have gone on to work as faculty and served as leaders in seminaries and universities, published books and started counseling practice. The hope back then was to expand the network of API women clergy, scholars and community leaders who would support one another in their work and to mentor the younger generation so that they could flourish in their ministry context. The PastoraLab program is part of ISAAC’s expanding community of API women clergy and leaders. I look forward to accompanying these gifted women and to witness how God weaves our stories for the development of a field-based Biblical/Cultural Asian American hermeneutics to strengthen healthy pastoral leadership.
Deborah H.C. Gin, Director of Research and Faculty Development at the Association of Theological Schools joins PastoraLab as the external assessor of the project. A core AAWOL team member is living out her dream at ATS and contributing to much needed research in theological education.
Joanna Choi, Podcast, When Women Preach… producer: This podcast is an expression of ISAAC’S mission in providing intersectional learning opportunities that enhance the capacity of leaders of the academy, church and community. It also serves as a platform to draw people into an issue, gender equality at the pulpit, that is rarely discussed. I am excited to be a part of this podcast because it reminds me of John 4 - Jesus with the women at the well. As written by the founder, Young Lee Hertig, Jesus engaged the women at the well in a prophetic dialogue that renewed both her inward and outward self. We meet together, in a neutral space, where we converse and collect stories from women who have too often been silenced. As the new podcast producer, I look forward to creating new pathways for listeners to share their stories, introduce us to women leaders who have influenced them, and hopefully challenge the perspectives for both men and women. Season 2, Episode 1 intentionally kicked off with an introduction to our first (hopefully one of many) male allies with this vision in mind as we hope to further our reach into the community.
Soo Jin Alvarez: Program Coordinator of a new project, How to Fuel Your Passion: Tangible Skillsets of Faith Leaders.
Nini Liu: Executive Assistant. Hello! I am Nini, the new executive assistant! As a person who grew up in traditional church settings, I was very excited to see the work ISAAC is doing to uplift women in Christanity leadership. I really appreciate what ISAAC sets out to do, especially because I grew up seeing the many trials and tribulations my mother faced as she served in ministry. I feel very blessed to have been led to ISAAC and I look forward to the work I can contribute to the organization.