Young Jin Cho endorsed as nominee for bishop 

The Rev. Dr. Young Jin Cho, Superintendent of the Arlington District, has been selected as the 2012 episcopal nominee from the Virginia Conference.

Dr. Young Jin Cho

Members of the conference delegation to the 2012 General and Jurisdictional conferences made the selection during their meeting Oct. 22 at Trinity UMC in Richmond. The Virginia Annual Conference endorsed the nomination by acclamation during the June 22-24 session in Roanoke.

Cho will join nominees from other conferences under consideration for the episcopacy at next summer’s Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference at Lake Junaluska, N.C. At least five new bishops will be elected in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. Although three Koreans have been elected bishop in The United Methodist Church, none have been elected by the Southeastern Jurisdiction.

Young Jin Cho was born in South Korea in 1946 and graduated from Methodist Theological Seminary in Seoul. He came to the United States in 1979 and continued his studies at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., earning both a Masters and Doctorate in Ministry. He was ordained in the East Annual Conference of the Korean Methodist Church in 1977 and transferred to the Virginia Conference in 1983.

He served as senior pastor of the Korean United Methodist Church of Greater Washington in McLean for 22 years before being appointed to the Cabinet in 2005 by Bishop Charlene Kammerer. During his tenure at Korean United Methodist Church of Greater Washington, the church went through three building projects and has grown to be the largest and most vital congregation in the conference.

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, Commission on Ethnic Minority Local Church Concerns, and was elected delegate to the 2008 and 2012 General Conferences. Cho received the Denman Evangelism Award in 1991. He is 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.

The episcopal nomination process began at the July delegation meeting. At that meeting, delegates identified 14 elders in the Virginia Conference who were invited to consider a call to the episcopal office. Those individuals were invited to create a circle of trust to explore this call. If led in this direction, persons were invited to attend a day of discernment together at Shenandoah University on Sept. 29. Six persons attended that meeting, and out of that group, two discerned that God may be leading them in this direction.

Several who were in the process described it as affirming and grace-filled, challenging them to think about their vocation and their lives, and a process filled with integrity and the Holy Spirit. They noted that the process removed a sense of competition from the episcopal nomination.

The delegation heard from Cho and the Rev. Clarence Brown, pastor of Annandale UMC. The two candidates responded to five questions posed by conference Lay Leader Shirley Cauffman. The questions had been chosen in advance by delegates. Cho responded via video, since he is presently helping lead a trip of pastors to Korea.

-The Rev. Beth Givens and Neill Caldwell



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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

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