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
Weather is going to be whimsical this summer. I know during the transition between Spring and Summer, usually the temperature varies up and down. But this summer is going to be scorching hot and more hurricanes are expected in June, the media brays.
I still remember the last Sunday when we actually met at the church sanctuary and worshipped together, I was wearing long sleeves and a warmer jacket. Now we have summer. Two months of staying home has already changed our clothes and outfits. It means that the season of Easter is over, and Pentecost comes.
Pentecost probably is one of the Christian concepts that has often been misunderstood. In our church history, even our recent memories about the ‘Pentecostal’ movement, we tend to understand powerful, and recall even strange practices including the revival movement, the Great Awakening, tent revivals and etc., full of praise and worship, songs, enthusiastic preachers, and prayer. And Christians have said that they experienced amazing miracles and the presence of the Holy Spirit. People shared their born-again testimonies and patients were healed through these passionate gatherings. Even the first two chapters of Acts in the New Testaments (which mainly describes the work of the Holy Spirit through devoted Christians in the first century) explain what actually happened when the Holy Spirit came upon the people. The same powerful images were depicted. Strong, powerful, and radical response of the new converts without any fear.
This sounds a little bit masculine. Speaking out-loud, standing against the threats, enduring persecutions for the gospel, and sending out missionaries to unknown cities. Yes, it was a powerful movement. Nevertheless, there are some opposite opinions in the Christian history. It was powerful, and brought huge impact, but it did not last long. Azusa street, (one of the recent revival movement of the US), and other Pentecostal movement across the world, continued for only one or two generations.
Then where is the work of the Holy Spirit found within us? Is the Holy Spirit not working anymore?
The spirit of God works all the time. Maybe we do not see the people were raised from their wheelchairs, and we do not hear any ‘speaking in tongues’ in our prayer meeting. But the spirit is still working within us. So, recent theologians and scholars have paid more attention to the feminine characteristics of the Holy Spirit: a nurturing and refreshing Spirit. It maintains our heart and keeps us in faithful and loving relationship with God.
During this pandemic environment, we sometimes feel frustrated and helpless. But remember the spirit of God, and how it has created new energy inside our heart, not simply the energy to break, and to stand against, but the energy of refreshing, nurturing, enduring, and comforting. So, trust in God and the work of the Holy Spirit in this difficult and unprecedented period. It will bring us heavenly comfort and true peace from God.
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