Prayers for Syngman Rhee

Prayers for Syngman Rhee

Update: We received word of the death of Syngman Rhee this morning, January 14. There will be a private funeral for the family and plans will be made for a memorial service in the future. Click here for the story on our website.

Memo Re: Prayers for Syngman Rhee, Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Practice of Global Leadership Development

From: Deborah Flemister Mullen, Dean of Faculty and Executive Vice President, Columbia Theological Seminary

To: The communities of Columbia Theological Seminary, Union Presbyterian Seminary, and the wider Presbyterian Church (USA) and the National Council of Churches of Christ

Epiphany Blessings to All,

I am saddened today to share with you that another revered leader among us has fallen ill to cancer. Dr. Syngman Rhee, who last September came to Columbia Theological Seminary as our Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Practice of Global Leadership Development, is now in critical condition at Emory Hospital. Of course, he has long been known to many of us as a pastor, civil rights leader, former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA), former President of National Council of the Churches of Christ. Prayers are requested for him, his wife Haesun, and the family.

I have come to know Syngman, even more personally in the last year, as an elder brother in Christ whose passions are aligned to help educate servant leaders for a more beloved community. His presence with us is truly an honor!  It is our hope that he receives all of the best medical attention needed to regain his health and stability.

Below is a message from the Rhee family with a weblink and email address to send well wishes and prayers. Please join me in supporting this extraordinary man, indeed an extraordinary family, in this time of great need.


Deborah Flemister Mullen


Dear Friends,

It is with heavy hearts that we share sad news about our father’s health situation. Syngman was recently hospitalized for an aggressive cancer and his condition is rapidly declining. He has been extremely healthy all of his life, so this development was a surprise to all of us. He is in the care of the very best doctors in the world for his illness. We welcome your prayers for our father and for our family through this journey of body, mind and spirit.

Even in the midst of this situation, every day, Syngman expresses deep gratitude for his life in the church, in ministry, and in the world, and for his many relationships and experiences in ministry over the course of his entire life. They are very much on his mind and in his heart. He feels a sense of unfinished business but he knows that there are many who will continue on as God’s church in the world for justice, peace and reconciliation.

We will try to post updates about Syngman on this blog: You are welcome to post messages, memories, photos, and prayers for him, our mother Haesun, and our family, here as well, or send an email to

God’s grace is immeasurable and we are deeply grateful for God’s gift of Syngman Rhee in our lives.

Anna, Peter and Mina Rhee

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One thought on “Prayers for Syngman Rhee”

  1. Myung-Sung Han says:

    Rev. Syngman Rhee has been my spiritual father. He is the pastor to me. My heart is heavy and saddened to hear the news. I pray for him, his wife Haesun, and family members.
    이승만목사님은 제게 영적 아버지였습니다. 목사님은 제게 진정한 목사님이셨고, 큰 산이셨습니다. 소식을 들으니 정말 마음이 무거워집니다. 목사님과 이해선장로님, 그리고 식구들을 위해 기도합니다.

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