Rev. Won Sang Lee, senior pastor emeritus of Korean Central Presbyterian Church who has been a revered pastor and missions leader, passed away on December 5, at 5 AM.
Lee was diagnosed with stage 3 esophageal cancer in August 2015, and had been receiving chemotherapy until recently. However, he had difficulty breathing on November 28, at which point he began receiving treatment at Georgetown University’s emergency room and intensive care unit until he had ultimately passed away.
Lee served as the senior pastor of Korean Central Presbyterian Church from 1977 to 2003 for 26 years, during which the church grew to become known as one of the healthiest and representative Korean mega-churches in the United States. Lee continued to serve in missions organizations after his retirement from KCPC, including through his role as international director of SEED International, and as the founder of Prassion, a prayer mission organization which Lee established after his retirement. After receiving a diagnosis of esophageal cancer, Lee said, “Rather than fear, anxiety, or resentment about death, God gave me a heart of peace,” and continued serving.
Lee was born in 1937. He received a bachelor’s in philosophy from Keimyung University and a master’s in philosophy from Kyungpook National University, after which he moved to the U.S. to further his studies. He received a Th.M. with an emphasis in Old Testament studies from Dallas Theological Seminary, and started his position at KCPC while studying for his doctoral degree at the University of Pennsylvania. As Lee served at KCPC from 1977 to 2003, he founded SEED International and sent 11 missionary families. Lee also became the first Korean to lead an opening prayer at a U.S. House of Representatives meeting in 2002. After his retirement, he also received a Ph.D. at University of Wales in the U.K. at the age of 72.
This article has been translated by Rachael Lee. For the original in Korean, visit kr.christianitydaily.com.