Who We Are
Kingdom Rice was founded by Steve Hong, a San Francisco-born and raised, music-playing, out-of-box holistic thinker and faith leader. He left a cushy (well-paying) Silicon Valley job in his mid 20's when he decided that his engineering job was too confining for his calling. That led him on a soul-seeking journey that's included pastoring, teaching overseas, refinishing floors, and teaching music. He found himself seeking to be valued for his skills rather than embracing his intrinsic value. This started changing through lived summers and sharing life with locals in ancestral homelands.
He realized he was questing an honor that ultimately only his Higher Power could give, but couldn't see that from his Western seminary training because concepts like honor, reciprocity, or patronage are typically seen as "backward" or foreign in the West's efficient, individualistic culture.
His time in the East opened his eyes to acknowledge his Western and Eastern roots and see the best in them. He continues to heal and hear God’s voice, a voice that honors his past and takes its best parts to the future.
He started Kingdom Rice as a non-profit because he believes the quest is not unique to him. Every board member who's served with him shares their version of this story. Find those stories below.
John is a Korean-American Doctor and Pastor. In his first half of life he was a healer at work and a shepherd for the church. Now, he’s spending the second half of his life switching roles: becoming a shepherd at work and a healer for the Church.
He continues to wrestle with the reality that "Jesus in his heart" but Confucius is still in his bones. Embodying the Good News as an honored member of God's family means he no longer needs to cover over his sense of shame with the "fig leaves" of academic and spiritual achievement.
Felicia Larson has lived her entire life in the San Francisco Bay Area. This was an intentional choice of Grandparents who grew up in the American south. The words of Felicia’s grandfather mark her life significantly – “No one is better than you”. These few words have emboldened Felicia to enter spaces that others may have excluded her from.
It’s that same spirit of advocacy that Felicia brings to Kingdom Rice. The desire for each person to know their worth in any space, so that they show up with confidence and grace, empowered to share their unique gifts.
Florence grew up in Taiwan before moving to the SF Bay Area with her family at a young age. God has given her a heart for San Francisco and the rich diversity that resides within the city — from the disenfranchised in the Tenderloin to executives in the Financial District. She dreams of an ecclesia that embodies Christ in humility, compassion, wisdom and power, and a city that hears and knows the Father’s heart. She can testify boldly in her own life that “He sets the lonely in families,” and now to this she has been commissioned: to spread a table and invite His children home.
Greg, an advisory board member, is a 5th-generation Chinese-American church planter and pastor. Oakland born and bred, he is currently serving as ECC’s first Asian American denominational superintendent. Greg brings big-picture wisdom in the areas of compassion, mercy, and justice. Similarly, he is profoundly shaped by people, places, and conservations that are well outside his natural circles and influences others to do the same.
In that regard, Greg yearns for church and mission to look differently so Greg has pursued reconciliation on the deepest levels and is a pioneer in advancing multiethnic ministry which include the hard work of reconciliation and giving lift to churches in diverse contexts like the city.
What does Kingdom Rice mean?
"Rice" is a common staple in the majority world reminding us that the church exists globally outside of the West. Rice also conjures up pictures of banquets— places where themes of hospitality, reciprocity, and seats of honor paint a picture of God's Kingdom here on earth. Jesus painted these inviting pictures in his sermons and he's offering that same honor to you and me today. Imagine being at this meal, with the greatest diversity you could possibly imagine with Jesus asking us to honor each other. Everyone and every community has a direct invitation to this table of honor.
Our logo centers San Francisco fronted by the gates of Chinatown because it's valuable to root in a community. By anchoring our mission to a distinctive 150 year long story of shame, racism, advocacy, survival, and honor, we've found that the 1000+ students, professionals, seminarians, and non-profits we've immersed in her streets are able to find their own stories of shame and honor in Chinatown's.
Among Grad Students - "For two years now, I’ve witnessed Steve bring to my students Kingdom Rice’s unique blend of theology that’s rooted in the ethnic, geographical and historical context of the city. My students & I were inspired to imagine how we can do this same contextually-informed work in the cities in which they call home.” - Wade French, FPU
Among churches and non-profits, we are immersing members into different 'hoods as vulnerable learners from those displaced and marginalized who are practicing deferred hope.
Around the world, we are changing the narrative of how influencers, pastors, missionaries through our innovated writing and cohorts.