Building upon a growing momentum for peace in Korea, representatives of the World Methodist Council and various Methodist denominations and ecumenical organizations will participate in this historic event Nov. 9-11 in Atlanta.
The 2018 Roundtable for Peace on the Korean Peninsula, hosted by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, will begin with a morning session at The Carter Center and feature an address by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on the “Renewed Promise of Peace on the Korean Peninsula.”
Ambassador James Laney — a United Methodist minister, former missionary in Korea and former president of Emory University — will reflect on Carter’s remarks. Laney was the U.S. ambassador in Seoul when Carter visited North Korea and ensured constant communication with the Clinton administration in Washington.
Also offering a response will be Christine Ahn, founder of Women Cross DMZ; Lee Hong Jung, top executive of the National Council of Churches in Korea; Jongdae Kim, co-founder and executive director of the Re’Generation Movement and Peter Prove, director of international affairs for the World Council of Churches.
When the event ends Nov. 11, participants expect to have an “Atlanta statement” describing next steps for the church and its work for peace in the region.
The election of J.C. Park, Korean Methodist Church, as president of the World Methodist Council in 2016 has been credited with providing “a new impetus” for the work toward peace that has been carried out by churches for decades, said Thomas Kemper, top executive for Global Ministries and moderator for the morning session.
Glenn Kellum, special assistant to Kemper’s office, pointed out that Park wanted the roundtable to be theologically and politically relevant and have some influence. The hope is that the Atlanta statement can become “a tool in influencing change,” he added.
After the opening session, the event will move to the headquarters of Global Ministries, where Park will address the central questions before the roundtable. Discussion will focus on the progress of the ecumenical community and a historical review of the factors influencing modern Korean history and U.S.-East Asian relations.
Ivan Abrahams, World Methodist Council General Secretary, will be involved in a number of sessions including sharing the history of this important effort, and will conclude the last working session. In addition to Park and Abrahams, other Council members will also be participating.
On Nov. 10, Abrahams will bring the message. The morning session will center on biblical and theological issues related to peace and reconciliation, building to a discussion of practical actions in the afternoon. The public worship service and reception will follow at 5 p.m. The following morning, a concluding discussion and worship will take place at the Bank of America plaza in midtown Atlanta.