Rev. Paul Cho
Paul Hyung Cho is the second child to Hyesoon Ko and Kyungyual Cho, a Korean Methodist pastor. Born in Kanghwa, South Korea, Paul grew up with his older sister, Anna Cho.
In 1986, Rev. Kyungyual (Andrew) Cho immigrated to the United States to pastor a Korean congregation worshipping at Central UMC in Phoenix. Paul arrived with his mother and sister in 1987 and took residence in Tempe. Paul attended Evans Elementary School from 1987-1992. He played the violin and clarinet and enjoyed bicycling every day. The family relocated to Ahwatukee where Paul attended Centennial Middle School from 1992-1995. He played the piano and took Taekwondo, but still preferred to bike around the foothills trails on South Mountain. In the summer of 1995, the family moved back to Korea where Paul attended Sangok Nam Jr Highschool and Kyesan Highschool where Paul joined the computer club and sang in the church choir. He also learned to play the bass guitar and joined the praise team. In 1999, Paul was accepted into the engineering college at Konkuk University and spent the year tutoring English while interning at a private company in the booming tech hub at Yongsan in Seoul. That Christmas, on December 26th, Paul returned to Arizona. He transferred to Pima Community College before transferring to the University of Arizona as a computer science major. He worked at Access Tucson as an editor then worked as the network administrator at the University. He also learned the guitar and led the young adult group, while also translating the pastor’s sermons from Korean to English at the church he attended. After graduating in the summer of 2003, with the aftermath of 9/11 making non-citizen employment a challenge, Paul attempted to launch a tech service company, Phoneatech, before relocating to Denver, CO where he joined with his sister. Anna was a student at Iliff School of theology and interned at Asbury Korean United Methodist Church. In 2004, through the care of Rev. Kun Sang Cho (unrelated) at Asbury, Paul was encouraged to take a pastoral internship through the Center for Pacific Asian-American Ministries at Claremont School of Theology. He enjoyed the closeness with the life of the church the internship provided him. With the recommendation and support from the program’s director, Rev. Dr. Chanhee Kim, Paul applied and was accepted at CST as a Master of Divinity student.
As a graduate student at Claremont, Paul served on the United Methodist Global Board for Higher Education Ministry’s Exploration 2006 design team, was the co-chair of the student body, and CST’s representative to the Young Adult Seminarian’s Network. He took up photography and served as a pastor of children’s ministries at Covenant UMC in Pomona before switching to youth ministry. Paul led mission teams to Mongolia and China, the second of which was where Paul had a “heart strangely warmed” experience and accepted God’s call to ordained ministry.
After graduating in 2008, Paul accepted a full-time position as the associate pastor of English ministries at Los Angeles Korean United Methodist Church. Along with the regular duties of a pastor, Paul also led the media team for producing programs for the local Korean Christian FM radio station and their web streaming service. Paul was formally introduced to Jiea (Julie) Cho, a viola/violinist, in the summer of 2008. Both parents were mutual friends who introduced their children in half-jokingly. The joke was on them when the two were resolved to wed. After spending 2 years in a long-distance relationship, the two were married in Seoul on April 17th, 2010. In 2012, after some personal tragedy and discerning a call to further his studies, Paul entered the Clinical Pastoral Education program at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange, CA. Afterwards, Paul continued his full time CPE program as a chaplaincy resident at UCLA Ronald Reagan hospital.The following summer in 2013, expecting the birth of their son, Nathanael Seyeon Cho, Paul took a full time position back at Covenant UMC as their associate pastor for English and Education ministries. Here, he focused his efforts in developing intergenerational family ministries as well as campus ministries at Mt. San Antonio College and the Claremont University Consortium.
In 2015, Paul was appointed to the Korean United Methodist Fellowship in Tucson and worked to develop a new multiethnic ministry, Tucson House of Prayer. Paul and Julie also welcomed Amber Nayeon Cho in the summer of 2016.
In 2017, Paul was appointed to First UMC Tucson along with the Korean UMF. After a two year visioning and discernment period, the two congregations merged in 2019 as an inclusive, multiethnic congregation. It was one of the first, but not the last, times that a congregation with Korean constituents joined the Reconciling Ministries Network. As an elder of the Desert Southwest Conference, Paul has served on the board of the Wesley Foundation in Tucson, the south district leadership and nominations committee, the advisory board of the Inn ministry of Southern Arizona, the conference board of ordained ministry, the episcopacy committee, and the Western Jurisdiction Asian American Church Council. He was a fellow of the Progressive Asian American Christianity fellowship program and currently discerning future areas of study. Paul is a handyman, a jack of all trades, but lately has been wanting to simply his life to make more time for his beloved children as he and Julie are expecting another daughter to join the Cho family in September of 2021.
Rev. Jamie Booth
Associate Pastor / Wesley Campus Ministry
Rev. Kelly Bender
You can read Pastor Kelly’s obituary at the following link: https://www.cozine.com/obituary/Kelly-Bender