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:
Nurturing Spirituality
Equipping Laity Leadership
Sharing God’s Hospitality

For a better connection, we should remember “Methodists’ Connectionalism.”

  Have you heard the term connectionalism? If you write this word in your Word document, you probably find a red underline, which means you need to correct it! Yes, it is a strange term but as Methodists, we have probably heard this term more often.

  Connectionalism is a Methodist term to define the structure that we are in. Our denomination defines it in this way. “According to connectionalism, the church is defined not by formal structures or doctrine or lines of authority. It’s defined by connections between people: connections between pastor and pastor, between pastor and laity, and between laity and laity. When the United Methodist Church claims to be a connectional church, that means that we hold such interpersonal connections in so high a regard that we understand them as the essence of the church.”

  Basically, the United Methodist Church understands our structure as an organic one, just like our body, and makes sure that each local part of the body is also very important because we are all connected. So it defines that from the local level, we have a group of Methodists in the local church, and one or several churches can make a charge. Many charges can form a district, and districts can form annual conferences. Then conferences can be part of a jurisdiction and General Conference. If I interpret this concept into our setting, we are Ward’s Chapel Charge, in the Baltimore Suburban District (approx. 70 churches) under the Baltimore-Washington Conference (approx. 700 churches in MD and DC).

  I am explaining this term because through our congregational meeting on January 22nd, we paid more attention to the ways that we represent our voice in the Annual Conference. I believe it is a very positive outcome that has a strong impact on the current conversation about human sexuality.

  We can make our voice heard during our Annual Conference (June 1-3, 2023) and all the decisions are made by each local church’s representatives. The process is clear and everyone can watch the meeting (live and recorded versions after the meeting). This is what our Methodist connectionalism is aiming for.

  For better communication, I will share upcoming agendas this year and if you need any more detail, I will develop ways that we can find congregational consensus. Last, but not the least, as Methodists I hope you have a clear understanding of Holy Conferencing (God is under control) through our connectionalism, so that we can trust our Methodist structure. It has been working well, and it will continue to work.

Pastor Steven
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