European Peace Campaign Summer 2017 [part two]

“let them turn away from evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it.”

(1 Peter 3:11)


NCCK continues the Peace Campaign in our second week. Despite experiencing rainy weather, lodging mix ups, and passport problems we continue to tell our story of peace in the Korean peninsula being the first step to peace in the world.


World Communion of Reformed Churches (Leipzig, Germany): July 2-3

The NCCK along with the Korean Christian Federation in North Korea were able to join together for a special Agape Luncheon arranged by the WCRC for the promotion of peace in the Korean peninsula. It was a moving service for all who attended to witness KCF and NCCK delegates participate in communion and worship side by side. In his sermon during the communion service, Rev. Kang Myung Chul, the chair of the KCF stressed that the churches in the North and South must be the agencies of peace-making in spite of all barriers and obstacles. Rev. Kim Young Ju gave brief greetings talking about the importance of having a peace treaty in the Korean peninsula, and Dr. Suh Bohyug spelled out the contents of peace treaty articles drafted by the NCCK.


Taize Community (Taize, France): July 4

NCCK traveled to France to learn more about the spirituality in the Taize Community. Brother Alois, Prior of Taize, told us that many young people seem to be attracted by the spirituality of simplicity, humbleness and sharing in the Taize community. He shared about their involvement in the peace works and humanitarian initiatives for Syrian refugees. Brother Alois also shared that they have been able to send humanitarian aid to North Korea and will continue to do so as long as they are able. Before leaving the community, NCCK had the opportunity to participate in the evening prayer service with Brother Alois giving a special prayer for peace in Korea.


World Council of Churches (Geneva, Switzerland): July 6

The NCCK delegation had an opportunity to learn more about the life and mission of the WCC, specifically their Youth Engagement programs, Ecumenical Theological Education programs, and the Justice and Peace Pilgrimage program. NCCK spoke more with Dr. Peter Prove giving more of an update on the progress of the campaign. The NCCK delegation discussed with Dr. Martin Robra how WCC and NCCK can contribute to peace-building in the Northeast Asia through the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace 2019 that will focus on the Korean peninsula.


World Alliance of YMCA (Geneva, Switzerland): July 6

On the last day, NCCK met with World Alliance YMCA Secretary General, Rev. Johan Vilhelm Eltvik. He spoke specifically about the new direction YMCA is moving toward that includes a space for justice and peace advocacy works. It was a brief meeting but powerful nonetheless.



European Peace Campaign Summer 2017 [part one]

“guide our feet into the way of peace” – Luke 1:79

This summer, the National Council of Churches in Korea journeyed across Europe on a Peace Campaign. Starting from June 25th through July 7th, 23 delegates from NCCK traveled together to speak about a peace treaty ending the Korean War and reconciling the Korean peninsula. We strongly believe that world peace can begin with peace in Korea.


It was an amazing experience to be a part of this group for two weeks and to see the support from international partners, new and long-established. Living in Korea it has been easy for me to know the importance of reunification and peace in the peninsula and by working with NCCK that awareness is doubled. Once leaving Korea, I imagined other countries would not be as concerned. I’m glad I was wrong. Between the rising tensions between the U.S. administration and North Korea and the new President in South Korea and the deployment of THAAD, politically the environment is charged.The world is engaged with the future of the Korean peninsula, and I am honored to be a witness to NCCK’s voice leading, in many ways, the conversation toward peace.


The Methodist Church in Britain General Conference (Birmingham, UK): June 26


NCCK was invited by the Council of World Mission to share about the Peace Campaign at the Methodist Church in Britain’s General Conference. Dr. Lee Moonsook presented on women’s involvement in the peace movement noting the significant events women have led on the border of North and South Korea. She also spoke on the difference between “peacekeeping”, the action of keeping the current structures in place, and “peacemaking”, the action of creating change and new spaces for peace to exist. She urged everyone to be peacemakers. The NCCK delegates heard the stories of pain and struggle from Mexico and Rwanda.  Fr. Kim Hyun Ho and Rev. Jeong Song Si led the evening prayer service with the theme “Let The Walls Come Tumbling Down”.


House of Lords (London, UK): June 27

NCCK met with The Reverend Dr. Lord Leslie Griffiths at the House of Lords in London and had the opportunity to share about the issues that threaten peace on the Korean peninsula. Dr. Noh Jongsun shared his personal struggles during the Korean War after being separated from his family living in the North. He stresses that technically the Korean peninsula is still at war as the Korean War-engaged states have not signed a peace treaty. He concluded that the peace treaty is an absolute “No” to another war in the Korean peninsula and at the same time a cornerstone for a permanent peace system in Korea. Lord Griffiths expressed a great interest in supporting NCCK’s peace efforts saying perhaps instead of waiting for several others to support the peace movement he should “listen to the lone voice in the wilderness” and support NCCK in their work toward peace. He also expressed his willingness to release an official statement supporting peace in Korea.



Korean War Memorial (Linlithgow, Scotland): June 28

NCCK participated in a moving service at the Korean War Memorial in Linlithgow, Scotland. Dr. Lee Unsunn led the service together with Rev. Scott Marshall praying for the lives that were affected by the Korean War. The Korean War veterans who served in the war from Scotland attended the service dressed in their uniforms along with the Mayer and the lord-lieutenant of West Lothian. NCCK planted a tree with a plaque reading, “This tree is planted in hope for healing and reconciliation; for all who died and were wounded, and for all who continue to suffer because of division on the Korean peninsula.”




Meeting with Church of Scotland (Edinburgh, Scotland): June 29

NCCK had a deep discussion session with leaders of the  Church of Scotland at the Murrayfield Parish Church Hall at Edinburgh. NCCK presented on the history of peace efforts in Korea and the crucial importance of working toward a peace treaty in the Korean peninsula. At this time, more than ever, peace is necessary and possible with South Korea’s new president. Following the presentation there was an open discussion on how might the stories of pain and suffering of the divided people in the Korean peninsula be shared with the constituency of the Church of Scotland.




A Day Conference with EKD (Frankfurt, Germany): June 30

A full-day conference on the Korea peace treaty was organized by the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). Rev. Jeon Yong Ho and Dr. Yi Kiho spoke about the reunification movement of the Korean churches in general and the peace treaty campaign in particular. The EKD shared the stories about the division Germany experienced when the East was separated from the West. The conference participants were divided into four groups and shared their views and stories of how the two counties can learn from each other on the journey towards peace and justice. Rev. Reinhard Kiersten, an EKD minister reflected on German reunification and stressed that “reunification is a must, taking into consideration of the division cost and the threat of war.” The German delegation also spelled out that securing the social welfare system and improving human rights are substantial to the process towards reunification.



Please read about the second half of our European Peace Campaign in part two!

THAAD Is In Korea

thaad1 (3)Korea’s response to U.S. deployment of THAAD very clearly reads to the character of Koreans. Koreans have the determination, resolve, and tenacity to advocate unapologetically for peace in their country. Their protests are focused, and their message is resounding. The time for peace is now on the Korean peninsula.

It is important to take note of the village that THAAD is currently being placed into, to my knowledge, without the consent of community members. In addition to the Soseongri village being home to many, it is also the home of the Won Buddhist religion. The road leading to the site where THAAD has been placed blocks a path the monks use as a part of their pilgrimage, it is significant to Won Buddhist history because it is the place where their founder met their second leader.

thaad3 (2)

Furthermore, the people in Soseongri village do not want to be involved with U.S. attempts to intimidate North Korea. It is not lost on this community that the actions of the U.S. are not about safety or about peace. There are no illusions of this being for the betterment of Korea’s security. It is, quite simply, a violation. And the U.S. is violating this village in hopes to gain – something, I don’t know – from the DPRK or China or both countries. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) clearly makes South Korea a target for a potentially violent response (from North Korea or China) and in no way promotes peace in the Korean peninsula. Korea is almost, it seems, to be viewed by the U.S. as disposable. The utter carelessness in which the U.S. deploys and removes military is disturbing and disruptive to the community and the Korean citizens.

2017-05-16 13.36.53The National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) have recently visited Soseongri to host ecumenical solidarity worship services in protest of the placement of the THAAD system in Korea. The NCCK joins the residents of Soseongri in calling on the governments of South Korea and the US to rescind the decision to install THAAD and to remove all that has been installed. The NCCK calls on the US to stop increasing tension on the peninsula with continued provocations like THAAD, stationing their nuclear-powered submarine on the peninsula, and assigning two nuclear aircraft carriers to increase the threat to North Korea.

It is not unlike the U.S. to have this disposition in regards to Korea because it is not unlike U.S.’s past in Korea or the Philippines or Hawaii… our actions clearly read to the character of our (US) nation. The carelessness in which decisions are being made by the U.S. moves peace and reunification farther away from being a reality in the Korean peninsula.

thaad2 (2)In 1953 an Armistice agreement was signed by the United Nations Command (UNC) [side note: the UNC signed the Armistice on behalf of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the UN commander was a US general], Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and People’s Republic of China. It was an agreement to cease all hostilities from the Korean War with the provision of attaining a final peace settlement or peace treaty in the near future over 60 years ago. To this day a peace treaty has not been signed. Peace must come from an open dialogue where both sides are able to succeed and the global community can unite. With South Korea’s new administration there is hope that the Korean peninsula will again have talks about peace. On the other hand, with the U.S. new administration, the Korean peninsula could be set back 65 years to the war.

fb 2017-05-16 13.44.50I have learned much from being in Korea. Most importantly, I learned that peace takes work. It is hard. And it is work. Peace is not simple and cannot be achieved by prayer and hope alone but it is worth it. Seeing the success of the candlelight protest changed me. Koreans worked so hard for their rights to have a leader who reflects the values of the nation. The work Koreans are doing now to have a nation that is a reflection of the people is impressive. The work of peace is, in fact, work. I am proud to play whatever role I am given in helping unite the Korean peninsula but more than anything I am ready to work.

No THAAD in Korea, only peace!

THAAD Is In Korea