Tag Archives: Korean Peninsula

2015 Joint North-South Prayer and Worship Liturgy (8.15 Anniversary)

From my friends Kurt Esslinger and Hyeyoung Lee comes an opportunity to pray and witness for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Hyeyoung and Kurt's Korean Adventure

ncck peace campaignThis coming August 15th, 2015 will mark 70 years since Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial control as well as Korea’s division into two zones based on the decision of US and Soviet Union officials (with Koreans conspicuously absent). Thus began a cycle of conflict and violence that Korea has yet to escape. Christians in South Korea first learned that Christians still lived in the open North despite severe restrictions on the practice of their faith. South and North Christians met face to face for the first time in 1988, despite it being illegal with participants risking arrest upon return to the South. Since then, South Koreans and Christians of the world helped convince the North to give Christians some breathing room to worship and practice in public, although full freedom to practice is still restricted. Since 1988, the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK – South) and the Korean…

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NCCK Young Adults Peace March

An invitation from our partners in Korea to participate in a peace walk
2015 DMZ Walkathon for Peace and Reunification on the Korean Peninsula
Christian Young Adults,
Harvesting Peace from the Site of Division
Dates: July 20(Mon.) – 25(Sat.), 2015

Hyeyoung and Kurt's Korean Adventure

gangwondo barbed wire

This coming July, my partner, the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) is inviting Korean young adults residing around the world to participate in a Peace March week long program on Korea’s division, war, and hope for reconciliation. They are especially interested in Korean Americans participating, and they have asked me to send a special invite to Korean Americans in the PC(USA). They hope this will be a significant time, the 70th anniversary of Korea’s division, for Korean residents in other countries to encourage their communities to join the movement for reconciliation on the Korean peninsula. It is VERY SHORT notice, I am afraid, so if you have this week free in July, please jump on this. Details below!

2015 DMZ Walkathon for Peace and Reunification on the Korean Peninsula

Christian Young Adults,
Harvesting Peace from the Site of Division

Dates: July 20(Mon.) – 25(Sat.), 2015
*The actual program…

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Joint Peace Prayer (text only)

Thanks to Hyeyoung Lee and Kurt Esslinger for sharing this prayer for peace, reconciliation, and reunification on the Korean Peninsula.

Hyeyoung and Kurt's Korean Adventure

Today is Liberation Day on the Korean Peninsula. May they be liberated from division and war. Let us pray the prayer composed together by Christians in the North and in the South:

God of Love!

It has been 25 years since we agreed to keep the week of Independence Day as a joint prayer week with the wish of reconciliation, and peace and reunification of the Korean Peninsula. It was a promise from the South and North Korean churches’ deep prayer to God for peace and reunification and was a vow of love in a very difficult time. We, however, still have not reached full liberation and still are experiencing conflict and hostile policies. Oh Lord! Have mercy on us.

God of the Road!

You know our suffering and pain at the division of our people. Lord, the road of reconciliation and peace, created by the life and devotion of…

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Joint Prayer for Peace and Reunification

IMG_0172The people of the Korean peninsula will mark August 15 as Liberation Day. This day of mixed emotions celebrates the end of Japanese colonial rule and the time when two other foreign powers, the Soviet Union and the United States, decided to divide the peninsula. Kurt Esslinger and Hyeyoung Lee, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission coworkers, reflect on this moment and provide prayer and worship resources from the National Council of Churches of Korea.

Hyeyoung and Kurt's Korean Adventure

In a few weeks the entire peninsula of Korea will honor the memory of Liberation Day from Japanese Colonialism on August 15th, 1945. This will be a celebration full of mixed feelings as this day also marks the moment when two foreign powers, the Soviet Union and the United States made the decision without Korean authority to divide the peninsula into two zones. The a long that generally follows the 38th Parallel became the line of division. Upon the Korean War, it also became an impassable wall separating families and independence partners who happened to be on the wrong side.

My new partner organization, the National Council of Churches of Korea is calling upon churches around the world to join them in praying for peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula. They have joined together with the Korean Christian Federation that represents Christians in North Korea to write a Joint…

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Prayer for Peace on 6/25

A prayer for peace on the Korean Peninsula for the anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War. Thanks Kurt!

Hyeyoung and Kurt's Korean Adventure

Today, June 25th, marks the day commonly recognized as the beginning of the Korean War when international powers dragged the Korean Peninsula back into conflict, except this time within itself.  As part of my job with the NCCK, I come into contact with resources, liturgy, and prayers that they have created on behalf of the peaceful reconciliation movement. I would like to share this prayer with you today which comes from a service created by NCCK members for the peaceful reconciliation movement.

Oh Lord, who unites us with the joy of liberation, thank you for filling us with life and joy and for reconciling our divided hearts through [our common worship as Christians around the world and our common communion around the table]. The fellowship you have given us becomes our hope and promise while suffering from deep division between sister to sister, brother to brother, and neighbor to neighbor.

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Pray for peace on Korean Peninsula

My friends Hyeyoung Lee and Kurt Esslinger serve as the Young Adult Volunteer coordinators in Daejeon, Republic of Korea for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). They offer this prayer for PC(USA) members to use during the season of prayer called for by the statement on the Peace of the Korean Peninsula. It is posted here with their permission.

God of the universe, God of the nations,
The people of the Korean Peninsula are crying out,
They no longer wish to live in the shadow of war,
They no longer wish to have resources diverted from life toward death,
They no longer wish to live in fear of the next possible misjudgment in calculation and rhetoric,
They yearn for healing and truth,
You call us to be a people of light, of life, and of peace,
But we have stood silent as our country perpetuates the machinations of death, darkness, and war.
How long, O Lord, must the Korean people live in a state of war?
We confess that we stood by and watched as we split an unwilling country into two,
We confess that those we voted into office ignored the context of a people tired of colonization,
We confess that our military has taken advantage of Korean gratitude,
We confess that our SOFA agreement denies justice to all those harmed by our representatives,
We confess that military presence comes hand in hand with the presence of brothels and sex trade,
We confess that we would much rather pretend this is “their problem,”
We confess that we believe we have no responsibility,
We confess that we hope to continue a policy of isolation despite its ineffectiveness,
We confess that we find it easier to continue the tired old song of hostility than to boldly move toward peace,
Help lead us into a future with the possibility of life,
A future where tools of death are laid down and the call of life,
Rise up a passion for justice, for peace, and for advocacy in your children,
Give our leaders the creativity to find new effective steps toward peace,
Give us the will to reunite families,
Help us lift up the voices of peace within the Korean Peninsula,
Gracious God of forgiveness and healing,
May we be transformed into effective agents
in partnership with the people of Korea
in making your Heavenly Commonwealth of Peace a reality on this planet.
Amen.

May it be so.

See you along the Trail.

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Time for an end after 60 years

IMG_2732 (533x800)On June 25, 1950, conflict broke out on the divided Korean Peninsula. North Korean troops crossed the 38th parallel, an artificial line of demarcation chosen by the winning superpowers after World War II, invading South Korea.

The police action, the Korean Conflict, the Korean War expanded to include forces from South Korea, North Korea, the United States, and the People’s Republic of China. Fifteen other countries provided combat troops to the United Nations Command, created by UN Security Council Resolution 83, recommending that members of the United Nations aid South Korea.  Several other countries provided humanitarian aid. The Soviet Union aided North Korea with advisers and  material assistance.

The fighting ranged up and down the Korean Peninsula with neither side gaining an advantage. The number of killed and wounded among combatants and non-combatants is disputed. CNN suggests that:

The toll of the war included about 1.2 million deaths in South Korea, 1 million deaths in North Korea, 36,500 deaths for U.S. troops and 600,000 deaths for Chinese soldiers.

After more than three years, an armistice was signed on July 27, 2013 – sixty years ago. This armistice was a truce, a ceasefire. A treaty ending the war has never been signed. Military commanders from the People’s Republic of China and North Korea signed the armistice with the US-led United Nations Command signing on behalf of the international community. South Korea did not sign.

The truce has generally held, but many of the people living on the Korean Peninsula want a true peace. They view such a peace as the an important step toward the end of the periodic tensions and confrontations that arise. In this anniversary year, efforts to seek such a peace are increasing.

The ecumenical community in the United States has created a Korean Peace Petition to send to the Obama Administration. The petition, which you can download and sign, encourages the administration to move toward a path to peace and reconciliation

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Presbyterian Church of Korea issued a Joint Statement on the Peace of the Korean Peninsula that called members and congregations to join in a Season of Prayer for peace in Korea. My friends Kurt Esslinger and Hyeyoung Lee serve as mission co-workers in South Korea. They have written a prayer for the Season of Peace that begins:

God of the universe, God of the nations,
The people of the Korean Peninsula are crying out,
They no longer wish to live in the shadow of war,
They no longer wish to have resources diverted from life toward death,
They no longer wish to live in fear of the next possible misjudgment in calculation and rhetoric,
They yearn for healing and truth,
You call us to be a people of light, of life, and of peace,
But we have stood silent as our country perpetuates the machinations of death, darkness, and war.
How long, O Lord, must the Korean people live in a state of war?

Check out the whole prayer. Use it. Use other prayers. Pray for the peace of Korean Peninsula.

See you along the Trail.

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