Meet Our Pastor --- Rev. Dr. Steven Sunghwan Cho
Rev. Dr. Steven (SungHwan) Cho is the pastor of Ward’s Chapel. Upon beginning his ministry at Ward’s Chapel, his focus was on ‘nurturing spirituality’, ‘equipping laity leadership,’ and ‘sharing God’s hospitality.’ His doctoral study researched the trend in the US, ‘spiritual but not religious’ and pointed out that this might mislead American Christians to lose precious religious traditions and cultural heritages. Pastor Cho said that the Bible basically teaches us, “spirituality is all about discipline.” As Jesus taught and showed, ‘prayer’, ‘meditating on the words of God’, ‘reaching out to the community’, and ‘heartful worship’ are the main components of spirituality. In order to re-establish those four components of the spirituality, Pastor Cho suggests that laity leadership and radical hospitality are the two critical keys.
Pastor Cho is a spiritual leader, preacher, life-coach (ACC), and published author. He is an ordained Elder in Korean Methodist Church and is in the process of being transferred to the United Methodist Church.
Pastor Cho earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at Wesley Theological Seminary in DC. While he was working on academic study in 2010, he was called to plant a worshiping community in DC, Alpha Community Church. The church focused on younger generations with diverse cultural background. They gathered at the heart of Washington DC and strived to look at their call from God, and what to do for the kingdom of God. After this ministry, Pastor Cho served at two churches, Stone Chapel (New Windsor) and Zion UMC (Westminster).
In 2019, Bishop Easterling of the Baltimore-Washington Conference appointed Pastor Steven (SungHwan) Cho to Ward’s Chapel. He is excited to serve Ward’s Chapel, and the church responds to him with love and special welcome.
He loves, playing music, golfing, motorcycle riding, and Korean calligraphy. His wife Dong Eun Lee is currently serving at Glyndon United Methodist Church as a pastor and they have a son, Won.
Pastor Steven’s Three Core ministerial values are:
Equipping Laity Leadership
Sharing God’s Hospitality
We are the United Methodists
After John Wesley experienced conversion, John and his colleagues developed the new ways of Christian life. This was the beginning of our Methodist denomination. They began forming special practices and followed strict guidelines. They regularly met at their group meetings and pursued a holy life. They received communion every week, fasting, abstaining from most forms of amusement and visited sick and poor people. Then, people began calling them Methodist because of the way they used rule and method to go about their religious affairs.
John Wesley was a priest who belonged to the Church of England. He had a special passion for God and constantly looked at the faithful ways to serve God. However, he could not be satisfied with the tradition or the teaching that he had followed in the Church of England. Rather John Wesley thought he was not faithful and even preached without confidence. He constantly prayed to God, “Lord, help my unbelief.”
In 1738, one day he attended a meeting in Aldersgate, and heard one person reading from Luther’s preface to the Epistle to Romans. And he felt something strange. In his diary, he wrote, “. . . I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."
Now, over 80 million people live under the name of Methodists and over 200 million Christians from Methodist-related denominations have been influenced by the life of John Wesley.
Then what makes us Methodists? And how much do you know about our precious tradition?
As a Methodist pastor, personally I have been so proud of several teachings from John Wesley: the power of Grace that can make possible to save all and the life pursues holiness. In other words, the openness to all the people who desire God, and constant effort to make the kingdom of God, these are the major two focuses of the Methodist teaching, I believe.
Now, we are preparing for re-opening. It should not be just opening the church doors again. It is time for re-visioning for our church future and develop new strategies to reach out our community and neighbors. To do this, I will work on two things. One is the re-visioning process with our church leaders. Secondly, I will focus on Methodist solutions. I truly believe that God has already given us some clues to deal with current tasks and challenges of our congregation. And I am sure that our tradition and Methodist heritage will provide us with great insights and solutions.
This Summer 2021, as we are preparing for the future of the Ward’s Chapel community, let’s pay more attention to know who we are, and how we handle our tasks as Methodists.
Pastor Steven Cho
Reverend Steven Cho's Monthly Message
- Pastor since 1992, ordained 2007 in Korean Methodist
- Church Planter, DC multicultural project church (2010-2016)
- Published Author, "Bible 101" series found on Amazon, and more books coming
- Novel Writer, "Sicarii", a Korean novel
- Life Coach, International Coaching Federation, ACC
- Enjoys- the tv show "This is Us", calligraphy, motorcycle riding, golf, and music
- Family: wife, Vivian Dongeun Lee, Pastor of Glyndon UMC and son, Won Cho, currently attends South Carroll High School, Jiujitsu player, interested in Bio-Med, violinist