SUGAR GROVE – The leader of Sugar Grove United Methodist Church is also one of its newest faces.
The Rev. CheonEui Oh on July 1 became pastor of the church, at 176 Main St. in Sugar Grove. Oh said he previously served Orangeville United Methodist Church and Afolkey-Bethel United Methodist Church at the same time in the Rockford District since 2009.
Oh has been getting to know the church’s members informally after services and meeting with them individually. In September, he will attend a series of informal meet-and-greet events with church members, as well.
Oh looks forward to meeting more of the church members at the meet-and-greets and listening to what they have to say. He also has embraced moving to Sugar Grove from Orangeville, Illinois, with his wife, Sim, and three children.
Born and raised in a religious family, Oh’s father is the pastor of a Methodist Church at Uljin in South Korea and his brother also is a Methodist pastor in Seoul, that country’s capital.
Oh said he was called by God to ordained ministry in 2000, adding that “130 years ago missionaries came to South Korea and planted the seed, and I believe I’m one of them.”
After graduating from Methodist Theological Seminary in Seoul in 2004, Oh came to the U.S. in 2005 to study at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston. He never expected to stay in the country, but in the end he became a provisional pastor in the Northern Illinois Conference and became an ordained elder in 2011.
Oh said his parents enjoy that he has made a life for himself in the U.S. – his father tells him to pray hard and take care of the people here.
The family still finds time to see each other, with Oh traveling to South Korea once in a while and his parents came to the states in 2011.
In addition to talking with church members about the church’s previously purchased 40 acres of land along Harter Road, Oh plans to further develop the church’s Sunday School and youth group programs.