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Rev. Dr. Young Jin Cho Joins Global Methodist Church and is Designated Bishop Emeritus

By Walter B. Fenton

Bishop Emeritus Young Jin Cho

At its June 19, 2023, weekly meeting, the Global Methodist Church’s Transitional Leadership Council (TLC) received the Rev. Young Jin Cho as a clergy member in the new denomination and then immediately voted to confer upon him the title bishop emeritus, effective July 1, 2023. Cho joins Bishop Emerita Robert Hayes, Jr. and Mike Lowry as the other bishops granted that status.

The GM Church, just over a year old, has welcomed nearly 3,000 local churches and received over 3,200 clergy members. During its transitional season the TLC is guiding the denomination prior to its convening General Conference, slated for the fall of 2024. The Council designated Cho as bishop emeritus in the light of his service as a pastor, district superintendent, and bishop in The United Methodist Church, and for his steadfast proclamation of the Wesleyan expression of the Christian faith.

“I love what E. M. Bounds says in his book, Power through Prayer,” said Cho. “‘The church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men and women.’ What the church needs is not more or better machinery, not new organizations or more novel methods. It needs men and women the Holy Spirit can use; men and women of prayer, who are mighty in prayer. I hope the GMC tackles a deeper issue of many mainline churches today – lack of spiritual vitality. We must become a spirit led movement!”

Born in Onyang, South Korea, Cho earned Bachelor and Master of Theology degrees from Methodist Theological Seminary in Seoul, Korea, and was then ordained in the East Annual Conference of the Korean Methodist Church in 1977. He came to the United States in 1979 and earned Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Cho then transferred to The United Methodist Church’s Virginia Annual Conference in 1983.

“People need to remember that the GMC launched just 14 months ago, so during this uncertain period we need to show one another a lot of patience and grace,” said Cho. “Disaffiliation has been and continues to be a difficult process for many of our sisters and brothers, so it’s important we allow people time to grieve and heal. Prayer is more important than ever as we all find our way forward.”

Cho’s first appointment was to the Korean United Methodist Church in McClean, Virginia, and it would be his only appointment in the conference. He served the congregation for a 22 years, and during his tenure it became the largest church in the conference measured by worship attendance. From there, Cho was tapped to serve as a district superintendent and then in 2012 the delegates to the UM Church’s Southeastern Jurisdiction Conference elected him to the episcopal office.

“Bishop Emeritus Cho’s gentle spirit and his modeling of servant leadership will be great gifts to the Global Methodist Church,” said Ms. Cara Nicklas, the TLC’s chairwoman and an attorney based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. “His emphasis on the importance of personal and corporate prayer enriched the church he served, the district he led, and many of the local churches in the Virginia episcopal area. The GMC’s Transitional Leadership Council enthusiastically granted him bishop emeritus status and looks forward to the ways he can advise and counsel the GM Church in its early days.”

In retirement Bishop Emeritus Cho remains engaged in ministry and mission around the world. He is involved with Durihana Mission, which works with North Korean refugees in the United States. He also serves as a co-mentor of the Bishop Cho Scholars at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. And he serves the Madang Program helping Korean-American pastors who are serving in cross-cultural ministries.

“Bishop Emeritus Cho is a follower of Jesus Christ with a depth of spirituality that I have always admired.  Every aspect of his life is rooted in the discipline of prayer,” said GM Church Bishop Mark J. Webb. “The leadership he offers to all he encounters is shaped by a pastoral heart and a passion for the Church to fully live into its purpose and mission. I am privileged to call him a colleague and friend. He will be a blessing to the Global Methodist Church.”

Bishop Emeritus Cho has been married to Kiok Cho for 46 years. They have three adult children, and two grandchildren. Bishop Emeritus Cho and Kiok live in Centreville, Virginia.

“It will be a real challenge for the GMC to become and remain a biblical and authentic church which truly honors the Lordship of Christ in our mission and ministries,” said Cho. “But I’ve learned to never underestimate the power of daily and fervent prayer.”

You can learn more about the Global Methodist Church by exploring its website.

The Rev. Walter Fenton is the Global Methodist Church’s Deputy Connectional Officer.

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