Jin S. Kim - Founder
Jin is founding pastor of Church of All Nations (CAN) in Minneapolis, MN & chief cultural architect of Underground Seminary. He grew up in the deep South after emigrating from Korea with his family at age 7. He went to Georgia Tech, Princeton Seminary, has a DMin from Columbia Seminary, and has served as a congregational pastor since 1993. Exasperated by the arduous task of deprogramming seminary grads in CAN’s internship program, Jin thought it would be better to equip them to be radical disciples from the start. “We’re trained by seminaries to help people cope with empire rather than to prepare them for an alternative way of life that is a counter-imperial witness to our faith in Jesus. I see emerging generations wanting help navigating a dehumanizing society and in building healthy and diverse Christian communities, as a means of reshaping that world through prophetic resistance, engagement and action.” Jin’s household includes his wife Soon Pac and teenagers Claire & Austin.
John Nelson - Cofounder, lead instructor
John grew up on a farm near Blue Earth, MN. After graduating from Bethel University and Bethel Seminary, he served as coordinator of Internship Program at Church of All Nations (CAN) from 2009-2013, focusing on pastoral training of seminary graduates through intensive “life together.” This experience informed his MTh thesis at Luther Seminary, where Bonhoeffer’s ecclesiology and Bourdieu’s social theory has helped him rethink ministry in our age of neoliberal globalization. He believes that discipleship is essentially a decolonizing of the body from the reflex of fear to love, and trusts that critical theological reflection coupled with daily life together as a seminary household can make discipleship real. John currently serves as Parish Instructor at CAN and was ordained as a minister by Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area in 2017. He lives with his wife, Seulgee, in a household with two other families from CAN.
laura newby - cofounder, lead strategist
Laura grew up in the St. Croix River watershed of rural Wisconsin, among pine trees and dairy farms. Her passion for Underground Seminary is driven by a desire to uproot ‘empire-sickness’ from herself and others and to cultivate spaces of healing and health. She has deep gratitude for the indigenous people and immigrants in her life who mentor her into life-giving ways of being, and who validated the conviction that living in deeply rooted connection to spirit, place, and community are possible. As Lead Strategist, Laura keeps the big picture in focus while catching small details. She also serves as Ministry Catalyst at Church of All Nations, where she’s worked since 2009.
isaac sanborn - research assistant
Isaac considers himself an apprentice of Pastor Jin and serves on staff at Church of All Nations (CAN) as youth director and church librarian, and at Underground Seminary as research assistant. He is studious and loves to laugh. He was born in 1991, grew up in the Mississippi Watershed (Twin Cities Area), and graduated from Underground Seminary in 2016. As a fifth-generation Swedish and German immigrant, Isaac aspires to bring healing to white Americans who suffer from a sense of rootlessness by recovering pre-imperial European rituals and customs, so that they can slough off the sham of whiteness and begin to embody boldness in the face of this monstrous American Empire.