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
“I am Forrest, Forrest Gump.”
Tom Hanks repeated this line, in the movie, “Forrest Gump.” This is one of my favorites, not only because of the great actor, but the storyline touched my heart when I watched this movie for the first time. People used to call a man like him inappropriate terms, and would use disrespectful language. In this movie, Forrest suddenly ran. He was running for a reason that no one knew. He ran and ran and ran. Why? Was there a reason? A reason to run? Or to run away from something?
The Sunday we invited one of our dearest pastors, Don Burgard. It was like a reunion Sunday. Everybody seemed very happy and excited to see him again. I saw smiles, giggles, and loving hugs. Then suddenly one church member asked me,
“How are you?”
I answered, “I run.”
Yes, just like Forrest Gump, I began running again. I used to run and it was my favorite thing, however, I had to stop due to the constant pain. Something was not right. The side of my little toe really hurt, and I could not run. But now I feel better, and I think I had enough rest so I can run again. Now, every day I run 5 miles and my short-term goal is to reach 10K at the end of my break.
Some church members may wonder, why does Pastor Steven need another break, because he just came back from his family trip? Yes, I did. I had a wonderful time with my family in Korea and it was a great family reunion. But there is a bit of a different point to this break and also a personal concern. I started my seminary training in 1992, and now this year marks thirty years of ministering. My life has been busy and my ministry has made me kind of rush. Then suddenly a strange question came into my mind this summer: “Am I doing right?” Hmm, I could not answer because I don't know about it.
One day, I had lunch with Pastor Don at Oscar’s Alehouse. Then he chuckled and said, “Another fifty years?” “Oh, no, no. I mean, another fifteen years!" I need to plan another fifteen years before my retirement, and I feel like I need to re-align my way, my ministerial styles, my self-development, and my self-care, but most of all, I had to answer this critical question, “Am I doing right, here in Ward's Chapel?”
So, please do not be frustrated due to my extra ministerial break. I promise I will come back with a fresh mind and new energy so that as a minister of this loving congregation, I can faithfully serve you and take care of your spirit better. Also, I will accomplish my running goal, 10k this fall by the time I come back to you.
Again, thank you for all the support that you have shown, and especially, I thank you Barb, Charlie, and Mike for your leadership, and worship leaders, preachers, and everyone who serves and participates in our Sunday worship thank you for your love and patience. I will come back soon!
“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1b)
~ 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