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Letter to the National Council of Churches of Korea

30 August 2007

Geneva, 31 August 2007

"Light dawns for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart."
(Psalm 97:11)

Having engaged in a season of prayer for the Korean hostages during their captivity, and having joined you in visiting and praying with members of their families in Bundang on August 14, 2007, I receive the news of their return to the Sammul Community Church with gratitude to God and admiration for those who contributed to their liberation from captivity. May the success of the contacts and dialogue that led to their safe release provide encouragement to peace-makers in troubled regions everywhere.

I am writing to express my joy and thanksgiving for the 21 church-related humanitarian workers whose lives have been spared in Afghanistan. Of equal importance, I write to assure the whole community, and especially the families and friends of the two hostages who lost their lives, of continued prayer and concern on the part of Christians in every part of the world.

The apostle Paul, who had personal experience of both joy and sorrow, understood that our hope in Christ often co-exists with great human sacrifice. As he wrote to the church at Philippi, "But even if I am being poured out as a libation over the sacrifice and the offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you - and in the same way you also must be glad and rejoice with me" (Philippians 2:17-18).

With people and churches around the globe, I wish for you and the churches of Korea the sure and certain hope of the resurrection that brings comfort to those who mourn, hope to all and renewed dedication to our common pursuit of unity, witness and service in this world.

Samuel Kobia
WCC general secretary