April 1, 2008
To Whom it May Concern:
I am writing about my long-time friendship with the University Bible Fellowship, with headquarters in Chicago and ministry around the world.
I first became acquainted with the ministry of UBF in the 1980s when I was teaching at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. One of my students was Jun Ki Chung, who was taking doctoral work in Missiology while completing his Ph.D. under Dr. Martin Marty at the University of Chicago. Mr. Chung was also very involved in the leadership of UBF. Dr. Chung now serves as Professor of Historical Theology at Kwangshin University in Korea, while maintaining his close relationship with UBF.
In the 1990s, I had the privilege of giving lectures at UBF sponsored meetings. On one such occasion I met the Korean founder of the movement, Dr. Samuel Lee. What I remember most about the meeting was that the church was packed and folding chairs were needed to accommodate the crowd. I was sitting on the platform and I spotted Dr. Lee himself bringing folding chairs to the front and ushering people in to take those seats.
At that time I also met Sarah Barry, an American Presbyterian missionary who helped co-found the movement. I had an opportunity to talk quite extensively with her and ask to her questions about the growth of the organization as it spread worldwide. What impressed me most about her was her openness and honesty about problems that had developed and mistakes that have been made.
In the 1990s, I also presented a lecture for a UBF meeting in Toledo. As was true in my Chicago meeting, the audience consisted largely of students who were very eager to learn, to ask questions, and to challenge my perspective.
In 1997, I visited Korea, where I lectured at several meeting in various locations throughout the country. I was accompanied by local UBF leaders and by Dr. Chung, who served as my interpreter. I realized during that trip how influential UBF is in Korea and how many good connections the ministry has with other Korean ministries.
In 2006, I was pleased to host several UBF leaders in my home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and once again I experienced a sense of warmth and friendship.
I recently lectured again in Chicago for a UBF sponsored meeting. I was pleased to discover that among so many new faces were also a large number of individuals I had become acquainted with more than a decade earlier. In many Christian organizations, there is a large turnover in leadership as key individuals come and go. But UBF has brought in new leaders, while retaining many who have served with the ministry for decades. Among those I had become acquainted with years earlier were Pastor Mark Yang, Pastor Ron Ward, Mother Sarah Barry, Dr. Jun Ki Chung, and Dr. John Jun, who is now the executive director.
Dr. Jun, who served as a medical doctor in the Korean Army, is a very efficient executive director. He has a lively, engaging, and warm personality and a quick sense of humor. As one of the first members of UBF, he knows the organization well, and seeks to lead through persuasion rather than power. He interacts with members as co-workers in an easy informal way, and plays as well as works alongside them. In fact he was telling how he tries to schedule tennis twice a week. I asked where he was able to find indoor courts for the winter months. He laughed and said they played on the nearby outdoor courts, sometimes clearing the courts with snow shovels.
As a seminary professor for twenty-five years, an author of seventeen books, an editor of the journal Missiology, and a past president of the Association of Professors, I have worked with many Christian organizations. UBF is one such organization that I have come to appreciate very much and would recommend to anyone who is seeking Bible training and fellowship and opportunities to serve.
Ruth A. Tucker, Ph.D.
Endorsement from Dr. Ruth A. Tucker
April 1, 2008