Charles Ryu

Lead Pastor

Born in Seoul, Korea as a fourth generation Methodist and immigrated to the United States during his high school days, Pastor Charles received his calling to ordained ministry rather early in his childhood. This call deepened and found a new clarification in his new social location as an immigrant, an ethnic minority, and with a new Korean-American identity, increasingly seeing his life as a global citizen, thinking globally though living and acting locally. His spiritual journey progressed from a more traditional and pietistic background to a more ecumenical, inter-faith, progressive, activistic, scientific, and contemplative/mystical form of Christian walk. He is seeking what is divine in the most mundane.

He received philosophical and theological education from Boston University (B.A.), The University of Chicago (M.A.) and Yale University (M. Div & STM). He also holds an additional bachelor’s degree in music (theory and composition) from State University of New York at New Paltz, and has done a graduate level study at Vatican’s Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music (Rome, Italy). He is a member of two academic guilds: European Society for Intercultural Theology and Inter-religious Studies (ESITIS), and European Society for Study of Science and Theology (ESSSAT).

During his pastoral journey over 35 years, Pastor Charles has served in many different settings: Korean congregations, primarily European white congregations, multicultural/muitl-ethnic congregations, campus ministry, camping ministry, children, youth and young adults ministries, institutional ministries, and peace with justice advocacy ministries. Most significantly, during 1986-1990, he was Associate Pastor at Korean Methodist Church and Institute, charged with developing the English Language Ministry, which eventually became Morningside UMC. So, he came back full circle to where he began.

He is a classical pianist with concert credits in four continents, and has been a lead actor in short and feature length films depicting authentic Korean-American immigrant lives.

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Ray Low

Assistant Pastor

Ray grew up in the suburbs of Illinois before moving to New York for college and immediately finding his home in the big city. While studying for a mathematics degree at New York University, he went on a summer missions trip with Carpenter’s Tools, International Music Ministries. While both performing songs and sharing the gospel and his testimony onstage, Ray received the calling from God to pursue pastoral ministry as a vocation. He continued to hone this passion as worship, small group, large group, and eventually executive board leader in his Christian fellowship.

After graduating from college, Ray spent time volunteering with campus ministry while taking classes online from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He moved to South Hamilton for two years to finish his Master of Divinity degree, and then felt called to move back to New York City after realizing God’s heart for bringing revival to the churches of the metropolitan area.

Ray began as the youth pastor at Morningside before moving into an assistant pastor role, where he was able to apply his experience with campus ministry to start a Columbia college ministry at church. During the week, he teaches mathematics as an adjunct faculty at Baruch College. He is passionate about discipleship, evangelism, reconciliation and justice issues. His favorite color is orange, which has been described by his friends as both “easy to buy gifts for” and “difficult to find gifts for.”

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