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.
Learning a new language does not simply mean having a new tool for effective communication, but I also
should learn about life and the people that I am living with. What made me confused, however, is that
there are a lot of different words, but pointing at almost the same meaning. I know, diverse words of
expression with different nuance can fully stimulate our sense of expression, and literary sensibility. But
it is so hard to memorize different expressions. Look at these words: love, compassion, affection, and
adoration. These sound like different words, but I feel they are pointing at basically one meaning. Don’t
I am glad I am not the only one who gets in trouble using different terms. In the Bible, there are four
different words that we have translated as love. First is eros. Romantic love; erotic desire; intimacy;
infatuation with another's beauty. The second is agape. It sounds familiar. It is unconditional, selfsacrificial love; charity. God's unconditional, self-sacrificial love for humankind and humankind's love for
a good God and for others. The third is philia. It is brotherly love; friendship; affection and regard for
and loyalty to friends, family, and community. The word philosophy is a good example, it is philia(love) +
sophia (wisdom), meaning loving wisdom. The last one is storge which is familial love; affection;
natural empathy for one's family, country, or team.
In John chapter 21, you see an interesting conversation with Jesus and Peter. The risen Christ asked Peter
about how much he loved Jesus three times.
In the Greek text, Jesus asked him first, “Do you love (agapao, agape) me?” Then he answered, “Yes, I love
(phileo, philia) you.” Then again, Jesus asked him (agapao), Peter answered, “Yes I love (phileo) you.”
Surprisingly, Jesus asked him the same question, but this time the Bible used phileo. Peter was so
confused because Jesus asked three times, but it was basically the same question. Peter answered, “Yes,
you know that I dearly love (phileo) you.”
Some preachers and scholars have paid too much attention to these terms and interpreting that Jesus
asked three times because Peter simply understood the message of love as ‘philia’.
Then, what do you think?
Me? I do not know. First of all, Jesus was speaking Aramaic, and the Greek version is the first translated
narrative. Second of all, to my knowledge, love is love. In this passage, Jesus is teaching us, love, love and
Now, we are facing a drastic change. We open our services again, and we feel like we have almost gotten
through the depressing and dark tunnel. It’s time to show our genuine message to the world. What is the
message? Jesus wants us to remember this word.
Love, love, love.
Do you listen?
Pastor Steven Cho