Obituary of Sang Chul Lee
The Very Reverend Dr. Sang Chul Lee,former Moderator of the United Church of Canada, (B.D., Th.M., S.T.M., D.D., LL.D.)
Peacefully, on January 28, 2017 surrounded by his loving family at his home in Newmarket, Ontario. He will be greatly missed by his loving wife of 63 years, Shin Jah who has been the love of his life. Loving father of Irene Chungwha (Peter) Dirks of Mooretown, Grace Chungsun (Doug) Scott of Newmarket, and Joy Chunghee Lee (John) Cappelletti of Aurora. Proud grandfather of Michael (Melissa) Scott, Michelle (Ken) Monoyios, Melanie (Jarrett) Bristow, Andrea (Alexander) Harper, Jonathan Dirks, Justin Cappelletti and Julia Cappelletti as well as his four great granddaughters (Charlotte, Tessa, Bella, Callie).
Rev. Sang Chul Lee was born in a small farm house in Siberia near Vladivostok, Russia, the eldest son of Do Il Lee and Do Soon Kim on February 29, 1924. He had two older sisters and two younger brothers whom he treasured.
Rev. Sang Chul Lee came to Canada as a graduate student to study theology at Union College, Vancouver in 1961 and returned to South Korea in 1964 after completing his studies. He immigrated to Canada in July 1965 with his wife and three daughters and Canada has been his home for the past 52 years.
Rev. Sang Chul Lee is a recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Victoria University, Toronto as well a recipient of Honorary Doctor of Law Degree from Mount Allison University.
Rev. Sang Chul Lee was often described as a pastor, prophet and pioneer who led a life that affected and influenced many through his vision and faith. He was elected as the President of Toronto Conference of United Church of Canada in 1985. He served as the 32nd Moderator of the United Church of Canada from 1988-1990. Rev. Sang Chul Lee was named Rainbow Chief at the All Native Circle Conference in 1989 and from that moment, became an honoured member of the gathering as an aboriginal people of the Circle. He was appointed Chancellor of the Victoria University in the University of Toronto from 1992 until 1998. He was a minister at several churches in Korea. Upon arriving in Canada, he was a minister at Steveston United Church. He founded the Vancouver Korean United Church in 1966. He was a long-time minister at the Toronto Korean United Church serving the large congregation from 1969 to 1988.
Rev. Sang Chul Lee's contributions as a pioneer in the Korean community in Canada are significant. He was the first Chairperson for the Korean-Canadian Association in Vancouver, B.C. This was the first Korean organization in Canada. He was a Board member of the Korean-Canadian Association, Metro Toronto, Chairperson for Korean Human Rights Council, involved in Korean Scholars Association in North America, the North-American Coalition for Human Rights in Korea, Council for Democracy in Korea, Canada-Asia Working Group, Korean Mental Health Service as well as a columnist for Korean Language newspaper and producer for Voice of Hope (Korean Language Radio Broadcast).
Rev. Sang Chul Lee was a wise and gentle soul, full of humility and grace. Inclusivity, justice and human dignity were paramount for him. His twinkling eyes, long white beard and wonderful sense of humour are legendary. Behind his humor and joyful laughter lay an astute mind and a deep belief in the presence of God.
Visitation: Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017 from 4pm-9pm at R. S. Kane Funeral Home (6150 Yonge St. Toronto, ON)
Funeral Service: Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017 at 11am at Alpha Korean United Church (300 Bloor St. W. Toronto, ON.)
In lieu of flowers, donations to the
Mission and Service Fund of the United Church of Canada or Victoria University/Emmanuel College would be greatly appreciated.