Eungyong – it is not only my Korean name, but also the root of my sense of call. The name defines me as a second-generation Korean American woman, a mother, a wife, and a pastor. Names are important. Even in the Bible, we see examples of how names define a person or a poignant moment in their life, like God changing Jacob’s name from “one who grabs the heel” to Israel, “the one who struggles with God.” Growing up, I had a love/hate relationship with my Korean name. For one, it is difficult to pronounce and secondly, it literally means “Silver Bells.” Nothing like the name “Theresa Silver Bells Cho” to give one an identity complex. I once asked my father why he chose that name for me. He explained that the Chinese character for “Eun” means “silver” or “crystal clear” and “gyong” means “the sound of a bell.” He said that when I was born, his hope for me was that I would grow up to use my voice, ringing truth as clear as the sound of a bell. As I live out God’s call in my life and continue to discern God’s call, I strive to use my voice to do just that.
Depending on who you talk to, truth can mean different things. As Christians, we are always making every effort to live out God’s truth. One of the many things I appreciate about the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., is its intentionality to hear the different voices of God’s people, which is not an easy task, but a faithful one. I know this first hand, growing up in Reno, Nevada, daughter of a Southern Baptist pastor. My life experiences have led me down an interesting faith journey that is by no means finished.
I grew up in Reno, Nevada and graduated from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago with awards in preaching and theology. Before coming to St. John’s in 2003, I completed a full-year chaplain residency program at UCSF Medical Center, where I provided spiritual care to patients, families, and staff. I am active in all levels of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., including youth conferences, women leadership conferences, Peacemaking Conferences, General Assembly Committees, and recently served as Moderator for the Presbytery of San Francisco. I also have had a variety of life experiences that include teaching children with special needs and working in a multi-racial urban congregation in Chicago and Seoul, Korea. All this contributes to my passion for child advocacy, creating intergenerational worship experiences, and urban ministry.
I live in San Francisco with my husband, InHo Kim, and our two children.