RyuA recent graduate of Candler’s Master of Theological Studies program has won a major writing award. In October, Jaesung Ryu 15T was named the first place recipient of the 2015 Richard and Louise Goodwin Writing Prizes in Theology for his essay, “Trauma and a Theology of Holy Saturday: Remembering and Mourning with WWII Comfort Women.”

The paper examines the ongoing effects of trauma on Comfort Women, women and girls in World War II’s occupied territories who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese army. “The phenomenon of trauma is not new,” Ryu wrote in his abstract. “However, the study of trauma is relatively new, spanning a little over a century, and has recently begun receiving attention from contemporary theologians. This paper explores a theology of Holy Saturday as a way to forge an appropriate theological response to trauma, and, further, demonstrate its potential to engage in the work of trauma healing.”

Ryu began the essay for a class he took at Candler, “Redeeming Memories: Cultural Memory, Christian Witness and Social Genocide,” taught by Assistant Professor Nichole R. Phillips. With Phillips’ ongoing guidance, Ryu continued the project as his integrative paper requirement to complete the MTS degree. “Because I was convinced Jaesung’s paper and theological thinking were incisive, thorough and stellar, I told him about the Goodwin Prize competition and encouraged him to submit his work,” Phillips says.

The Goodwin Prizes are awarded to graduate students whose essays demonstrate creative theological thinking, excellence in scholarship, faithful witness to the Christian tradition, and engagement with the community of faith. The awards are sponsored by Theological Horizons, a nonprofit organization supporting Christians in academia that operates out of the Bonhoeffer House at the University of Virginia.

An ordained minister in the Korean Evangelical Holiness Church, Ryu served as associate pastor at the Servant Korean Evangelical Church of Atlanta until this summer, when he began a yearlong Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) residency program at Emory University Hospital.

Learn more about Ryu and his paper in this interview with Theological Horizons.