Mission life: THE KUKMIN DAILY

WCC and South-North Church Leaders to Meet in Pyongyang Next Month

2015-09-15 17:35

The World Council of Churches (WCC) and church leaders of South Korea and North Korea will meet next month in Pyongyang to search for ways to lessen tensions on the Korean peninsula through reconciliation and exchanges.

In an interview with Kukmin Daily on September 11, WCC Central Committee Moderator Dr. Agnes Abuom (photo, Anglican Church of Kenya) said, “Some directors of WCC will visit Pyongyang late next month to discuss diakonia with the North Korean church leaders… Peace on the Korean peninsula isn’t an issue of South and North Korea only. WCC sees the Korean peninsula within the same framework as other victims of cold war and ideological conflict that we have supported toward a life of reconciliation, and we will continue to help Korea.”

Moderator Abuom was referring to the Executive Committee meeting of the “Ecumenical Forum on the Korean Peninsula,” to be held for seven days from October 24 with the participation of WCC, the (North) Korean Christian Federation, and the National Council of Churches in (South) Korea. This event is expected to come up with specific South-North exchange plans, following up on the recent South-North August 25 Agreement, and overlapping with the reunion of divided families from October 20-26.

Elected by the Busan WCC 10th Assembly in 2013, Dr. Abuom visited Korea this time for the “Ecumenical Forum on Peace in Northeast Asia,” held for three days from September 11. Looking at the issue of reunification of the Korean peninsula in relation to the “Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace,” a follow-up project of the WCC 2013 Busan Assembly, she said, “Reconciliation and reunification are like a journey, which requires patience over a long period. Therefore, it is important to invite new pilgrims to join, so those who have been walking for a long time don’t fall exhausted.”

[Participants to Ecumenical Forum on Peace in Northeast Asia pray for peaceful reunification of Korean Peninsula, on September 13 at Odu Mountain Unification Observatory in Paju, Gyeonggi-do. Photo by senior reporter Kang Min Seok]

Moderator Abuom particularly emphasized the church’s role as a reconciler healing the wounded and helping them reach true reconciliation. She said, “The church needs to understand the trauma of the generation who experienced the war, and to try hard to heal those who were wounded in the confrontation between ideologies of left and right. For this, their memories must be shared with the young generation… The values of the Gospel, including justice, peace, healing, and reconciliation, must be the dominant values of the Korean peninsula after reunification.”

The purpose of the just-concluded Ecumenical Forum for Peace in Northeast Asia was to trace the history of world church support for Korean reunification, and to seek a new driving force. The forum was organized jointly by the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK Tonghap) and the Presbyterian Church of the Republic of Korea (PROK), with the participation of 90 WCC members and church leaders from Germany, the United States, Russia, Japan and other countries. The participants stated, “Government-driven policies up to now have clearly revealed their limitations in preparing the way for peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula… The church should go beyond its boundaries and link up the nation’s political, social, and economic capacities through the Biblical values.”

Article and photo by reporter Narae Kim (narae@kmib.co.kr), with Yeara Ahn-Park (yap@kmib.co.kr)

Click here for the original article in Korean

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