Methodist Round Table on Peace in the Korean Peninsula Held in Seoul
The news headlines have recently shone a spotlight on the rising tensions in the Korean Peninsula, and Christians around the world are mobilizing to encourage peaceful relations and reunification efforts. One such effort was a Round Table for Peace in the Korean Peninsula held in Seoul at the Korean Methodist Church Headquarters, attended by delegates from the Korean Methodist Church (KMC), United Methodist Church(UMC), Methodist Church in Britain(MCB), and the World Methodist Council (WMC).
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung from the United Methodist Church, began the Round Table meeting with a message and prayer, and Rev. Dr. J.C. Park (President of the World Methodist Council and member of the Korean Methodist Church) presided inviting each of the delegate bodies to present on its own peace and reunification efforts. Rev. Chun-Hee Kang from the KMC pointed to the “Seoul Theological Declaration: Status Confessionis 2016” which was adopted by the 32nd General Conference of the KMC in 2016 which states “In the present time of nuclear threats to the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia, we are currently standing at the crossroads between giving our lives to the God of life or the idols of death, i.e., nuclear weapons.” And it calls for “renewing the covenant before God in creating denuclearized zone” among the members of KMC, UMC, and WMC.
Rev. Thomas Kemper from the UMC shared on the church’s participation in the World Council of Church’s International Ecumenical Conference on a Peace Treaty for the Korean Peninsula held in Hong Kong in November 2016, where participants reaffirmed their commitment to “a process for a peace treaty to replace the Armistice Agreement.” The UMC has stood with other ecumenical efforts of the National Council of Churches in Korea and the World Council of Churches to protest war and preemptive attacks in the region. The UMC 2008 General Conference also approved a statement regarding the Korean Peninsula peace stance.
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung also reported on efforts of the Korean UMC to donate 2.5 million USD in food aid to North Korean people and appealed to maintain good relationship with the Korean Christian Federation in North Korea.
The next Round Table meeting will take place at the United Methodist Church General Board of Global Ministries headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, USA in June 2018. Additional delegates from each participating body, a well as from the North Korean official church, will be invited and the theme will be “Christ Our Peace.” The agenda will include:
- Constructing a theology of peace and reconciliation
- Discussing a process for a peace treaty
- Collaborating in the “Visit Christ” project to send food, clothing, medicine, and trees to North Korea.
The full report of the Round Table may be downloaded on our website.
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung Calls Peacemakers to Faith, Not Arms
United Methodist Bishop Hee-Soo Jung urged people of faith to focus on what we are “for” instead of what we are “against.” He named peace, justice, diversity, equality, reconciliation, reunification, among the the things that Methodist and Wesleyans can be “for.” He continues with a prayer for leaders, citizens, and a means toward peace and reconcilation, concluding with the challeng that we should “join together in solidarity with our Korean brothers and sisters in this sacred task of peace-making, peace-keeping, and restoration.” Read the full article at http://www.wisconsinumc.org.
HKCC Hosts the Ecumenical Conference on a Peace Treaty for the Korean Peninsula
A synospsis of an article written by HKCC’s general secretary, Rev. Po Kam-cheong
The Hong Kong Christian Council played host to the World Council of Church’s ecumenical conference which brought together delegates from the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK, South Korea), the Korean Christian Federation (KCF, North Korea), World Communion of Reformed Churches, The Christian Conference of Asia, and others totaling more than fifty representatives. Because citizens of North and South Korea are forbidden from being in contact with each other, the conference found “neutral ground” in Hong Kong. All participants were encouraged, seeing the citizens of both countries worship and pray together for their country’s unity.
During the two days, the delegates met around the theme of a Peace Treaty between North and South Korea. Renewed peace efforts are underway including a proposed peace treaty to replace the current Armistice (which was signed by the USA, China and North Korean army, without the signature of South Korea, and thus is not a stable agreement). Because of the USA’s assistance to South Korea through providing a defense unit (THAAD), both North and South Korea have begun military exercises, making many wonder if a peace treaty is possible. Rev. Po Kam-cheong, General Secretary of the Hong Kong Christian Council, believes that there is no time like today, and that a clear goal will help the two states reach peace.
National Council of Churches in Korea Urge Removal of THAAD
From World Church News
In a recent letter to its partners, the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) stated, “…we still have issues on justice and peace, not only in South Korea but also in the global sphere. One of the greatest we are now facing is the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. The Korean government bought THAAD from the US military. Because of the deployment of THAAD, tension is mounting between China and South Korea. China has begun a boycott of Korean products and the Chinese government is apprehensive about their military operations being monitored.
“North Korea also announced that they have prepared nuclear weapons due to the deployment of THAAD. “People living in the Sungju village, where THAAD is placed, are now living in fear of being attacked. Furthermore, the village is the holy place of Won Buddhism and the villagers are fighting against the deployment. NCCK deeply sympathizes with their pain and suffering and stand in solidarity with Won Buddhists against THAAD.
“We are also against the deployment of THAAD and nuclear weapons in North Korea. Nuclear weapons are terrifying Koreans with the threat of a nuclear war and we want peace for the Korean peninsula. The NCCK has therefore sent a letter to US President Donald Trump to remove THAAD from South Korea.”