Bishop Young Jin Cho
From the Bishop....
Young Jin Cho was elected a bishop and consecrated at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference held July 18-20, 2012, in Lake Junaluska, N.C. He is the first Korean-American elected to the episcopacy in the Southeastern Jurisdiction.
While it is uncommon for a newly-elected bishop to be returned to his or her home conference, (in fact, it had never before been done in the Southeastern Jurisdiction) Cho was assigned to come home to Virginia to lead the Virginia Conference for the next four years.
Cho was born Sept. 17, 1946, in Onyang, South Korea, and graduated from Methodist Theological Seminary in Seoul, Korea, where he received a Th.B. and a Th.M. He came to the United States in 1979 and received an M. Div and D. Min. from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. He was ordained in the East Annual Conference of the Korean Methodist Church in 1977 and transferred to the Virginia Conference in 1983.
He was senior pastor of Korean United Methodist Church of Greater Washington (KUMCGW) in McLean, for 22 years before being appointed superintendent of the Arlington District in 2005.
During his tenure at KUMCGW, church worship attendance grew from about 100 to more than 1,000; 276 adults and youths were baptized; and three building projects were completed. The church has grown to have the largest worship attendance in the conference and is one of the most vital congregations in the Virginia Conference. KUMCGW also has started two new Korean United Methodist churches in cooperation with the Virginia Conference.
In his ministry as District Superintendent, Cho continued to focus on Christ’s vision for the Arlington District. After prayerful discernment, his ministry concentrated on three areas: developing new faith communities, revitalizing existing churches by transforming clergy leadership and strengthening connectionalism. In seven years, under his leadership, the Arlington District started more than 10 new faith communities and introduced many training events for the clergy and laity to strengthen spiritual foundation of ministry. He always emphasized that Christ should be the Lord in our mission and ministries, and prayer should go first.
Cho has served the church and the community in various capacities, including president of the Korean Wesley Foundation, president of Partner’s Church Association for the renewal of the Korean United Methodist Church, Board of Ordained Ministry, Board of Discipleship and Commission on Ethnic Minority Local Church Concerns. He was elected delegate to the 2008 and 2012 General Conferences. Cho received the Denman Evangelism Award in 1991. He was also the U.S. chair of an organization that assists refugees from North Korea.
Cho and his wife, Kiok, a deacon in full connection, have two daughters, Grace and Sophia, and one son, Chris.