What We Want to Know About Preacher Won and Mee Young
I did not want to be a preacher. In my twenties I wanted to be a high official in South Korean government. I never wanted to be a preacher. I pursued my dream to be a high officer in Korean government. I passed the very competitive exam, but I failed at the final interview because I believed in democracy under the dictatorial system in 1985.
God called me to be a preacher while I was praying on a mountain. That was not my happy moment. But I surrendered myself to God and registered in the Presbyterian Seminary in Korea. However, after three months I had to drop out of the school because there was no class due to the demonstration against the Dean of the Seminary. I worked for the power company for seven years. But I couldn’t resist the call to be a preacher anymore.
Then, why did you come to the U.S.A. to be a preacher?
For two reasons, first I am the last one to come to the U.S.A. in my family. My mother and all my brothers and sisters were already in the U.S.A. Second, my younger brother, who was a second year student at Duke Divinity School, invited me to study at Duke instead of in South Korea.
How has it been for you to serve as a preacher?
Overall, it has been a great joy. We have been so blessed with wonderful friends and church families wherever we served. Mee Young and I have been in ministry for twenty-six years. By the grace of God wherever Mee Young and I have served, we have seen the churches grow. We have served five different churches, and we have been involved in capital building projects five times!
There is a saying among the clergy, that if we get involved three times in a capital building projects, we are guaranteed to go to heaven. Based on that, Mee Young and I don’t doubt about out place when we die.
What makes Erwin United Methodist Church special to you and Mee Young?
Erwin has a very special meaning to Mee Young and me. When I started out ministry almost 25 years ago, I started out at Parker’s Grove United Methodist Church in Linden. That church was merged into Erwin United Methodist Church. We feel like coming home! It’s a full circle. I heard great things about Erwin United Methodist Church when I was a pastor at Parker’s Grove United Methodist Church. It’s God’s doing. I see the invisible hands of God upon Mee Young and me, and Erwin United Methodist Church.
What do you see now and in the future of the United Methodist Church?
This is a very strange, challenging time. This is unprecedented in human history. We are in a perfect storm. COVID-19 has changed our lives. Social unrest; such as racism, police brutality, Black Lives Matter movement, upcoming elections, etc., have disturbed social order and our routines. This is uncharted territory. On top of these commotions, as a United Methodist, we face huge denominational challenges over human sexuality. Again, we are in a perfect storm!
Then, what do we need to do or to be?
We need to remain calm and stay calm. We need to have prayerful discernment as a congregation. We need to know where we came from, who we are, what God wants us to be or to do, who our neighbor is. This requires intentional, divine guidance. We need to pray!
Tell us about your family and education.
Mee Young and I have been married for 33 years. We have two children, Hyun, who is 32, and Wook, who is 31. Our daughter, Hyun, expects to have a baby in September. Her husband, Simon, is a Swedish man. Our son, Wook, will get married on October 10th this year.
I went to Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in South Korea for my Bachelor’s Degree, Duke Divinity School for Master of Divinity, then Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. for Doctor of Ministry.
Anything else to share?
Mee Young and I love to visit people, pray for our church families, take a walk, and enjoy dinner with you. Just give me a call to talk to us!
Abby Tomell, Director of Youth Ministries
Abby was born and raised in California, but has called North Carolina home for the last 13 years. She has two girls, Isabelle and Kinley. Abby works for Harnett County Schools as a Substitute Teacher.
Prior to joining us at Erwin UMC, Abby served as a Children’s Ministry Director.
Elaine Tilghman, Council on Ministries Chair & Organist
Elaine Tilghman is a native of Erwin, North Carolina, and a life-long member of Erwin United Methodist Church. Elaine graduated from Erwin High School, and received a degree in Secondary Education from Campbell College.
She has served as Council on Ministries chairperson for over 20 years, and as Organist of the church for over 50 years. Music, especially accompanying the Chancel Choir, is one of the greatest passions of her life.
Elaine is married to Johnson Tilghman, and has two children, Winston and Meda and twin grandsons, James and Johnson.
Deanna Keen, Administrative Assistant,
Finance Secretary, Children’s Ministry Coordinator
Deanna has served as our Administrative Assistant and Financial Secretary since 2018. She has attended church here at Erwin UMC since 2003. She is married to David Keen, who is a native of Erwin and is a life-long member of Erwin UMC. They have two sons, Connor and Zachary, who both attend the local schools.
Deanna has served as a Children’s Ministry Coordinator, alongside Gina House and Jennifer Lemon, since 2018 and enjoys working with our children in various activities and events, she is also a member of our Chancel and Altar Handbell Choirs.
Gina House, Children’s Ministry Coordinator
Gina House has served as Children’s Ministry Coordinator, along with Deanna Keen and Jennifer Lemon, since 2018. Additionally, she has led Vacation Bible School for several years and teaches the Preschool-K Sunday School class for 3-6 yr olds. Gina’s own children are young adults but she enjoys the connection with the young kids and all the lessons they have to share. Gina is also active in the UMW, serving in various ways.
Gina is a life-long Methodist and moved to Erwin UMC in 2001. She grew up in rural North Carolina on a farm but enjoys living in the town of Erwin close to great neighbors. Gina is a pharmacist at the Veterans Administration Medication Center in Fayetteville, NC. She has 2 children, Kayla who is an Occupational Therapist and Tyler who is studying business at NC State.
Jennifer Lemon, Children’s Ministry Coordinator
Jennifer Lemon is a career public school teacher, who has worked with children with special needs, for over twenty-six years. She is currently employed with Harnett County Schools as an EC Program Specialist. Jennifer is also a life-long Methodist! She grew up in a small rural church in Linden, NC (Parker’s Grove United Methodist Church) where she was active in all areas of the church.
Since becoming a member at EUMC, Jennifer has happily served on the Youth Ministry team and loves working with children’s church. Jennifer is married to Bryan Lemon and they have three children – Seth, a sophomore at ECU (Go Pirates!), Rachel, a high school freshman, and Anna Cate, a seventh grader.
, Choir Director
Jordan Lasater is a native of Erwin and a life long member of EUMC. She graduated from Triton High School and earned a doctorate of pharmacy from Campbell University. She is employed with the VA Medical Center in Fayetteville.
Jordan has served as the pianist for over 10 years and is a member of the Altar Handbell Choir. She is married to Brad Lasater and they have one daughter, Spencer
Brad Lasater is a native of Erwin and has attended EUMC for over 10 years. He graduated from Triton High School and earned a business management degree from NC State University. He is the inventory control manager with BMD of Dunn.
Brad has served as the sound technician for over 10 years. He is married to Jordan Lasater and they have one daughter, Spencer
Kimberly Mason, Treasurer
Kimberly is a retired educator who has served as our Treasurer since 2018. She has been a member of the Erwin United Methodist Church since 1999. She is married to Charles Mason. They have four children and five grandchildren.
Kimberly is also a Stephen Minister and helps with the church Food Pantry.
Phyllis Dunn, Erwin UMC Lay Leader
Phyllis Dunn is a life-long member of the Erwin United Methodist Church. She has served in various capacities, including president and vice-president of United Methodist Women, Sunday School teacher for the youth and currently Share and Care class (part of rotation), member of several committees and is presently honored to be the Lay Leader for the congregation.
Phyllis and her husband Ben are parents to Joe and Chellie, Amanda, and grandparents to Lily and Cooper.