Churches across the Korean Peninsula will mark the year 2020 as a “jubilee year,” and, as they commemorate 70 years since the Korean War, religious leaders are pledging to redouble their ongoing efforts for stronger peace and reunification.
The National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) held its 68th General Assembly at Jeongdong First Methodist Church in Seoul on 18 November. The assembly decided to proclaim 2020 as a “jubilee year” marking 70 years since the Korean War, and the NCCK also vowed to continue its efforts for a permanent and solid peace regime and reunification, declaring a formal end to the Korean War and replacing the Armistice Agreement with a peace treaty. The year will also celebrate the Korean Peninsula as a place of peace, prosperity, and reunification.
Rev. Bo-hwan Yoon, who was elected as the new NCCK president and will serve a one-year term, is from the Korean Methodist Church, and reflected that he recognises the characteristics and historical traditions of the NCCK and pledged to honor and strengthen the missional work of the organisation.
“I think more than ever, we need a church council for peace,” he said. “I will stand alongside you on your way in obedience to the will of God, who called us as the Apostles of Peace, with the theme of the 68th General Assembly. And for the next year, we have committed to various activities inside and outside the church to achieve peace and reunification.”
Rev. Dr Hong-Jung Lee, general secretary of the NCCK, stated: “Overcoming the divided Cold War consciousness, which is deeply embedded in Korean churches and society, can be achieved through making our minds in peace, creating peaceful relations in our daily life, and creating social solidarity. As members of the National Council of Churches in Korea, I ask all of you to work together to achieve peace by participating in a great prayer campaign in 2020.”
Lee added that the Korean church should be reformed as the stepping-stone of reconciliation and unity by regenerating with the salt and light of the world. He urged church leaders to support gender justice in their churches, and stressed that society must achieve political reform, power institution reform, and media reform for a mature democracy.
The assembly of the NCCK recognized World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit’s and WCC director of international affairs Peter Prove’s longstanding efforts for peace on the Korean Peninsula.