We are saddened by the passing of Won Sang Lee, December 5, 2016, after his battle with cancer for about a year and half. We wish to honor his life and legacy as a pastor-scholar and visionary churchman. Lee was born in Manchuria, China, in 1937. After studying philosophy, he obtained a masters of theology in Old Testament from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1972, a masters in Near Eastern studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1981, and a Ph.D. in pastoral theology from Wales Evangelical School of Theology in 2010. He received honorary doctorates from Keimyung University (2002) andWestminsterTheological Seminary, Philadelphia (2015).
In 1977,Won Sang Lee was called to become the pastor of Korean Central Presbyterian Church in Centreville,Virginia, where he became Senior Pastor. By the time of his retirement in 2003, the church had blossomed to three thousand attendees at Sunday services.The church joined the Presbyterian Church in America in 1982 as a member church of the Korean Capital Presbytery and continues to flourish under the leadership of Rev. David Eung Yul Ryoo.
Won Sang Lee was the president of the Association of the Korean Churches in the Greater Washington, D.C. area. In 2002 he offered the opening prayer as a guest chaplain for the 107th Congress House of Representatives. His passion for community service was recognized and was honored in 2001 with the Virginia’s Governor’s Award for Community Service.
Won Sang Lee’s love and devotion for world missions was evident as he worked with Milal Mission of America, a mission organization for handicapped people, and the Korean World Mission Council for Christ. He founded and was president of both SEED International and PRASSION (Prayer is Mission) International. He authored Feed My Sheep (Seoul: Tyrannus, 2002) in Korean, a collection of his poems, and Pastoral Leadership: A Case Study, Including Reference to John Chrysostom (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2015).
Besides his beloved wife, Young Ja Lee, he is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Joseph and Esther Lee; his daughter and son-in-law, Eunice and Dr. David Chu; and eight grandchildren.