At the fall Board of Trustees meeting, Asbury Theological Seminary elected new officers, including the first African-American Chair, Joseph Harris. The Board also welcomed two new members, Sherree Funk and Hwa Yung.

“We are delighted to welcome these new members and new officers to the board,” Dr. Timothy Tennent, President of Asbury Seminary, said. “We are grateful to them for their leadership and commitment to the Seminary’s mission as we continue to meet the goals in our 2023 strategic plan. We pray God’s wisdom and blessing on them as they assume this new role and responsibility.”

Joseph Harris, newly elected Asbury Seminary Board of Trustees Chair, is the Assistant to the Bishop, Communications Director, and Conference Secretary for the Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Asbury Seminary. His B.A. is from the University of Massachusetts, and his M.Div. and D.Min. degrees are from Oral Roberts University. He also has an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Oklahoma City University and has done post-doctoral studies at Alliance School of Theology. Dr. Harris has been a pastor and has also served as the first General Secretary for the General Commission on United Methodist Men. The United Methodist Men named him a John Wesley Fellow. He has been a delegate multiple times to General and to Jurisdictional Conference and was an endorsed episcopal candidate in 2000. He has been active in civic organizations and is the recipient of several civic awards, including the National Silver Buffalo Award presented by the Boy Scouts of America. Dr. Harris and his wife, Nancy, have two adult children.

“Some will say that Asbury Seminary has taken a significant leap forward electing its first African American board chair,” Harris said. “That is an historical footnote. I say, however, that this board has entrusted me and the other officers you have elected with the integrity and trust of the board to continue to lead us into the new realities in which we find ourselves.”

Other new officers include Vice Chair, Paul Baddour; Treasurer, Dale Ditto; and Secretary, Karen Thomas.

Introducing New Board Members

Sherree Funk, Sweickley, Pa.

As a geologist, Sherree Funk worked as an Exploration Geologist for Shell in Houston until her first child was born. With extra time and a deepened commitment to Jesus Christ, she got involved in serious Bible study. This interest grew steadily through Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), Disciple Bible Study, and many Beth Moore studies. She has enjoyed teaching the Bible to others for the past 28 years and has taught adults and teens at church and for several years as the Children’s Director for a new Community Bible Study (CBS) class in Pittsburgh. She loves to write and help others do the same, writing devotionals, poetry and blogs about God’s amazing work. She and her husband travel and support World Vision in their mission to help end the world water crisis. She graduated from Asbury Seminary with a Certificate in Christian Studies in 2006.

Hwa Yung, Malaysia

Hwa Yung is the Bishop Emeritus of the Methodist Church in Malaysia. He has been a minister of the Methodist Church in Malaysia since 1981. During this time he served as a pastor, and lecturer and Principal of the Malaysia Theological Seminary (STM). He was also the founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia, Trinity Theological College, Singapore. He is engaged in various ministries internationally, including being the Chairman of the Board of the Oxford Centre for the Mission Studies, Oxford, and a member of the Congress Management Committee for the 3rd Lausanne Congress for World Evangelization, Cape Town 2010. His writings have focused largely on missions and Asian Christianity. His wife, Bee Teik, trained as a doctor, now works as a writer and spiritual director. They have three children, Yang Jerng, Xin Ping and En Ning.

The Board of Trustees exists to help guide and protect the integrity of the mission of Asbury Theological Seminary.