Meet Whanhee Oh

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 3.13.50 PMHometown: Incheon, South Korea

Home church: Dongsoo Methodist Church, South Korea

Program: Master of Theological Studies

Other degrees: Bachelor’s degree in theology from Methodist Theological University, Seoul, South Korea

Formative experiences
Just before completing my undergraduate studies, I took time off because I was desperate to find my dream. During the break, I tried everything that I had always dreamt of, including working at a clothing store, learning how to dance and swim, and getting different certification licenses. Then, I packed my bag and went backpacking for the first time by myself to Europe. It was the most terrific experience and helped me find my interests and passion. After traveling, I became more independent. I realized that I need to study more. I was determined to study abroad and followed what my mind said. I am thankful to be part of the Garrett-Evangelical family.

Experiences at Garrett-Evangelical
Every week, I have experienced surprising grace and comfort from worship services at the Chapel of the Unnamed Faithful. Especially when I attend the Holy Communion, I feel true communal relationships with Christ and with the community. Not only at the chapel, but also in the classroom, I am learning how to make worship a lifestyle with great friends at the seminary. I was surprised at the strong sense of community and fellowship at Garrett-Evangelical. Many people are dedicated to building a good community for the world.

Plans for the future
I think God calls me to bring my friends to church and to worship God together. One day, I hope all my friends, their family members and children, and I will gather as a worshiping community and share our faith journeys in Christ. In order to make it possible, art is a very important means and resource in my liturgical studies and calling.

Meet Katye Dunn

Dunn websiteHometown: Little Rock, Arkansas

Home church: Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church, Little Rock

Degree program
: Master of divinity

Other degrees:
Bachelor of fine arts in dance performance and bachelor of arts in religious studies from Southern Methodist University (SMU), Dallas

Formative experiences: I am a born and bred Southern girl who loves dance, sports, and a good cup of coffee. My family and my friends are the most important things in the world to me, and it has been a good day if I have laughed out loud and given at least one person a hug. During my college years, focused on a career in concert dance and musical theatre, I started volunteering with the youth ministry at my home church during holiday and summer breaks. I found so much peace and joy and discovered that God could use me (little old ME) as I went on mission trips with youth in parts of rural Arkansas, led bible study at Starbucks with a group of middle school girls, and built one-on-one relationships with the students, getting to know their hearts and stories – walking with them on the journey of faith. By the time I graduated from SMU, I had gone from not seeing myself doing anything other than performing on stage to not seeing myself doing anything other than youth ministry.

Experiences at Garrett-Evangelical: All of the puzzle pieces came together here at Garrett-Evangelical. Living in the South my whole life, I wanted to experience a different part of the country, and I wanted to be close to Chicago’s vibrant music, dance, and theater scene. Pursuing ordination as a deacon in the The United Methodist Church, it was important to me that Garrett-Evangelical is a place that is open and welcoming to students discerning that call. If all of that wasn’t enough, doing my campus visit and meeting the amazing students and administration was all the confirmation I needed that I would fit right in here.

Plans for the future: As long as God will let me, I plan to serve as an ordained youth minister in the local church.

Meet Austin Rinehart

austin rinehartName
Austin Rinehart

Sterlington, Louisiana

Home church
Noel Memorial United Methodist Church, Shreveport, Louisiana

Degree program
Master of divinity

Other degrees
Bachelor of Arts, Centenary College of Louisiana

Formative experiences
I’ve had many formative experiences in my life, but one of the more recent ones happened in the summer of 2012. I was selected as a fellow for the Fund for Theological Education. As per the requirements of the fellowships, I attended a conference in Nashville, Tennessee, with the other fellows for a four-day experience on the campus of Vanderbilt University. A wide array of theological backgrounds and a diversity of denominations were represented within this group, including United Methodist, United Church of Christ, Roman Catholic, and non-denominational as well. Being in the presence of such great minds and great theological conversations really brought home the understanding of the Body of Christ. We might not all think alike, look alike, love the same persons, or profess the same faith, but we all are united under the love and grace of God. For someone like me, who loves interdenominational and interfaith dialogue, this was a mountain top experience that allowed me to encounter something I am very passionate about in a tangible way. 

Experiences at Garrett-Evangelical
When looking towards seminary, I narrowed down my search to two United Methodist schools, Garrett-Evangelical being one of those. I ultimately chose Garrett-Evangelical because of its commitment to social justice, progressive theology, and a deep concern for the student. From the very first moment I stepped on campus, I felt at home. I felt connected in a way that I did not feel at other schools I visited. I was instantly attracted to the wonderful professors, challenging curriculum, and interactive classroom experiences. I can fully say with confidence that Garrett-Evangelical has been everything I was hoping and wishing for in a seminary experience.

Plans for the future
I feel a deep connection and call back to my conference, the Louisiana Conference of The United Methodist Church. I really feel like God is calling me to be a leader there and to be an agent of change. Our conference is doing some wonderful things, and with a new episcopal leader, Bishop Cynthia Harvey, it is positioned for the future. I feel called to play a crucial part in that future. I am currently a certified candidate for the elder track, and I plan to be ordained as soon as I finish my time here at Garrett-Evangelical.

Meet Thomas Yang

Thomas Yang CropHometown
Glenview, IL

Home Church & Denomination
Trinity United Methodist Church (Wilmette, IL)
The United Methodist Church

Bachelor of Arts, Illinois Wesleyan University (2010)
Major: Biology, Religion

Garrett-Evangelical Degree Program/Year
Candidate for Master of Divinity (2014)
Concentration: Theology

Background Information
I am a second-generation Korean-American and proud of both my ethnic and nationalistic identities. Aside from the rigors of academia and congregational needs from my field education site, I prefer spending my free time outdoors and being active. I enjoy running and playing volleyball. In fact, I ran my first marathon this summer. I also helped organize a free open gym, which provides access for people in the community to socialize, gather, and play volleyball and basketball.

I heard the beginnings of my calling to seminary, and ministry, in college. My background in the humanities primed me to critically think about God, the Church, and Christian living. Life took a series of twists and turns, and I found myself working in children’s and youth ministries. The genuine questions proposed by curious students resonated with me and fueled my enthusiasm for nurturing a healthy and formative spiritual environment. As I reflected upon these life experiences, my calling into ministry clarified.

Attraction to Garrett-Evangelical
I was attracted to Garrett-Evangelical’s emphasis on preparing individuals for ministry without neglecting the value of a solid theological education. Upon arriving to Garrett-Evangelical, I was impressed with the community’s efforts in valuing and fostering hospitality to its students and faculty; the sense of community and hospitality truly is palpable. Each semester, I come to appreciate more and more the meticulous thought and care that professors give to the classroom experience. I am encouraged by their dedication and desire for their students to integrate their education to their life and ministry settings.

Career Plans
I am currently in the ordination process in the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church and look forward to serving the parishes in my conference.


Meet Ornella Umubyeyi

NameOrnella full
Ornella Umubyeyi

Kigali- Rwanda


Home Church & Denomination
Zion Temple Celebration Center- Nondenomination

Religion & Leadership Studies, Ripon College, Wisconsin

Garrett-Evangelical Degree Program/Year
Masters in Pastoral Care & Counseling, 1st Year

Background Information
I was born in Burundi, later on my parents moved in Rwanda. I am the second oldest of a family of four girls and one boy. I went to high school in Massachusetts and then attended college in Ripon, Wisconsin. I graduated in May and immediately enrolled at Garrett-Evangelical. My parents still live and work in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda.

I speak French, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, and English fluently and have a decent understanding of Swahili. I enjoy movies and music. I like to travel and meet new people. I look quiet and shy to most people but I can be silly and extrovert most of the time!

I recently started a Christian non-profit organization in Burundi, which aims to help young children who are homeless and those with HIV/AIDS. The organization helps to pay their school fees. My hope is that they will become disciples of Christ who will impact their nation and the world despite their background. I only have 10 children I am supporting now due to finance but they are my greatest pride and joy.

I grew up in a Christian family in Rwanda and Burundi but never understood salvation. When I was 15, God called me but I was not ready to respond because I wanted to “fit in” like every teenager and mostly because I feared the responsibility and the cost of serving God. When I was 18, I finally decided to answer the call and leave everything behind and at 19 years old I became a preacher going to high schools and youth meetings to share my testimonies and the Gospel. The Lord anointed me and appointed me at 22 years old. I am the youngest ordained minister in my country and I find it an honor as it humbles me to see that the Lord has chosen me and trusted me to serve Him. I have authored two books, and am interested in the intersection between ministry and photography, spoken word & poetry, and social media platforms.

Attraction to Garrett-Evangelical
First, I wanted to go to Moody Bible Institute, however I felt God leading me to Garrett-Evangelical. Second, what attracted me to Garrett-Evangelical was the masters in pastoral care and counseling. Many schools I was looking at were not as strong in pastoral care even if they had counseling programs. I wanted to attend a seminary that will help me grow academically but also give me space to grow individually as I see more of God through fellowship. When I arrived the first day I knew that I made the right decision.

Career Plans
Rwanda is a country that went through horrors in the genocide of 1994 and the memories are still haunting to some even now. I plan to do counseling in Rwanda and to bring counseling ministries in churches in East Africa more broadly. I believe that I have seen many wounded Christians who have not seen a platform to seek healing but also church leaders who haven’t learned of the importance or pastoral care and counseling. Rwandans would benefit greatly from the counseling of trained and equipped church leaders who could help them overcome as survivors.


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The United Methodist Church, welcomes
students from a wide range of faith traditions.