The National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) organized a workshop for the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) held in Kingston, Jamaica. The workshop was held Thursday, 19 May. Press release below:
Realizing a peaceful reunification of Korea would not only be a gift for the Korean people but also for the people of Asia and the world as a whole. For the church, both in and outside Korea, realizing a unified Korea will also mean the church being unified in their efforts.
With this background the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) organized a workshop for the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) being held in Kingston, Jamaica 17-25 May. The workshop was held Thursday, 19 May.
Titled “War or Peace? – Ecumenical Cooperation on the Korean peninsula” the workshop was intended to raise awareness about the need for a peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula and the role the church has played in this process.
“The NCCK has been cooperating closely with the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) to contribute to the peaceful reunification in the Korean peninsula since the 1984 Tozanso consultation in particular,” said the moderator of the workshop, Dr Samuel Lee, vice-chairperson of the NCCK Committee of Reconciliation and Reunification.
The 1984 Tozanso consultation, which was held in Japan, was an ecumenical consultation initiating lines of communication between Christians in North and South Korea. Another step in the ecumenical journey for peaceful reunification in Korea took place last year when a declaration from the South Korean churches was adopted.
The declaration called for the peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula and came at the point of the 100th anniversary of the annexation of Korea by Japan, the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, and the 10th anniversary of the 15 June 2000 declaration of the Inter-Korean Summit, according to Lee.
The declaration also recognized earlier efforts from the Korean churches, such as the 1988 Declaration of Korean Christian Churches on the National Reunification and Peace, nearly two decades of cooperation with the Korea Christian Federation of the North and various weeks of prayer for reunification and peace.
The WCC has remained involved with the issue for several decades including the visit of two general secretaries to North Korea, first the Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser in 1999 and then the Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia in 2009.
Bishop Dr Martin Schindehütte, of the Evangelical Church in Germany, said, “According to our experience, peaceful reunification in Korea is possible. We would like to share our experience with Korean churches and we are willing to cooperate with the Korean churches.” The two Germany’s formally reunited in 1990.
“We are also ready to cooperate with Korean churches for the peaceful reunification in Korea” added Vakhtang V. Kipshidze, Russian Orthodox Church.
During the meeting, Rev. Hiroko Ueda, acting general secretary of the National Christian Council of Japan, said: “As with the 1984 Tozanso consultation in Japan, Japanese churches wish to contribute towards the reunification in Korea. I think it is our obligation, since we occupied Korea in the past.”
Participants in the workshop thus recommended that WCC should contribute continuously to the establishment of peace on the Korean peninsula. They expressed the wish that the 2013 WCC Assembly scheduled to be held in Busan, Korea, should be a historical turning point for achieving the peaceful reunification of Korea.
For live video streaming of the event visit the IEPC website:
High resolution photos of the event may be requested free of charge via photos.oikoumene.org