March 2024 Member Spotlight – Jiwon Kim

Jiwon Kim and her family came to the United States from South Korea when she was seventeen. In her own words, she was “bright eyed and bushy-tailed” and ready for an adventure. She studied Spanish literature in college and eventually found a job with the National Library of Medicine from which she recently retired. She enjoys being able to structure her day and do the things she wants without the time pressures of work. This has been a paradigm shift and something she’s still learning about.

Unless you ask Jiwon, you may not realize that she is a deeply spiritual person. In South Korea her mother exposed her to Buddhist, shamanistic, and indigenous pagan religious traditions. While her father was agnostic, her father’s sister brought her into Catholicism for a while and then she found Protestantism. She and Scott tried Unitarian-Universalism at a large local church, but never fully connected. By happenstance she talked with Nicole Levesque at a neighborhood gathering and heard about UUCSS. When they started attending, they felt immediately welcomed by Dorothy Hale among others.

Religious ceremony is not something that Unitarian-Universalists are known for and it’s hard to imagine how we compare given her diverse religious background. But for Jiwon, UUism opened a path of living intentfully and better at practicing what we preached, bridging the theoretical with action making our rituals more meaningful in their totality. She cherishes UUCSS Sunday services, which often bring tears by touching her heart and soul–to her deeper self and to the Divine like nothing else. She values UUCSS as a place where ceremony, meaning, and action walk hand in hand.