Berkeley Art and Interreligious Pilgrimage Project

Ken Schoon

As an ordained United Methodist deacon, The Rev. Ken Schoon is called to help the church meet the needs of the world, which he has undertaken through various roles in parish ministry, retreat ministry, LGBTQ+ advocacy, worship planning, and church administration. He is currently appointed to study in the PhD program at the Graduate Theological Union, where he concentrates in the Anthropology of Religion and works with advisor Dr. Kathryn Barush. 

Ken’s pursuits in music, liturgy, and social change have come together in his study of pilgrimage at the GTU. His research focuses on contemporary Christian Holy Land pilgrimage, specifically how foreign pilgrims and Palestinians in the Bethlehem area have joined together in conversations and initiatives to advance justice and peace. More broadly, he endeavors to understand how pilgrimage may serve as a means to build transformative relationships with the Other, confront suppressed histories, reclaim sites of injustice and trauma as places of healing, and commit to the work of reparative justice. These themes have been present in Ken’s life as he has wrestled with his own family’s legacy, stretching back well over a century, of living through the long history of hostility and violence directed towards Asian Americans in California. 

Ken holds a Bachelor of Science in Urban Studies from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Divinity from the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. He lives in San Jose with his husband, whom he met as a cellist in the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony.