Cross-Cultural, Urban, Reformed, Ecumenical

In Memoriam: Rev. Dr. Hyung Gil “Howard” Kang


We were saddened by the news of the death of Rev. Dr. Hyung Gil ³Howard² Kang, on May 18th, 2019. Rev. Dr. Kang was a PC(USA) Minister of Word and Sacrament, McCormick alumnus (class of 1978), and longtime faculty and friend.

Dr. Kang (DMin 1978) served on the McCormick faculty and was a faithful colleague and friend of this institution for many years. We give thanks for the life of Rev. Dr. Kang and for life everlasting.

Dr. Kang was trained in Korea at Ham Nam University and Presbyterian Theological Seminary before migrating to the USA, studying further at Dallas Theological Seminary, University of Illinois at Chicago, and McCormick Theological Seminary. He was the founding pastor of True Way Presbyterian Church (now Dunamis Presbyterian Church of Des Plaines), where he served for twenty-six years until his retirement in 2004. His record as a theological educator is perhaps best seen in his work as founding Director of the Korean-American ministries program at McCormick Seminary in 1988. He established a close and productive working relationship with Dean Worley, and he recruited brilliant colleagues like Professor Hearn Chun. Kang established a strong partnership with the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Seoul (Now the Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary), opening educational opportunities for Korean and Korean-American pastors and lay leaders. He also served as the 19th Moderator of the National Caucus of Korean Presbyterian Churches in the PC(USA).Kang was a leader within and across communities, a program builder, a translator, a visionary theological educator, a fierce friend and faithful collaborative partner, and in all things a humble servant of God.

Those of us who worked with Howard knew him as a kind, thoughtful, and decisive pastor/scholar. Under his leadership of the Korean-American Ministry, and more broadly as a leader within his community, he dreamed bold dreams, and sought to bring his dreams to reality. He made a way forward where others could only see reasons to wait. He was faithfully impatient. He was eager to find ways to provide his community with sources and opportunities needed to create new ways of ministry in this new cultural context. In cooperation with other colleagues at McCormick, Kang recognized the needs and the promise of multicultural and multilingual ministries. McCormick was a better place because of his commitments and his creative faithfulness. In the Kang years, we offered courses in Korean, Spanish, and English every academic term. We give thanks for the life and ministry of Howard Kang as we continue to chase after his vision.

A memorial service was held Saturday, June 22 at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1424 Greenwood Rd. Glenview, IL. 60026.