Bishop Hee-Soo Jung

United Methodist Bishop Hee-Soo Jung of the Wisconsin Conference preaches at the closing worship service at the Fourth Roundtable for Peace on the Korean Peninsula on Aug. 31 at the Ambassador Hotel and Kwanglim Methodist Church in Seoul, South Korea. Jung said, “Love can bring pain and make it difficult for us, but we must still love and forgive.”


Hailing from Kanghwa Island, a place whose very shores face the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the stark boundary that has divided the Korean Peninsula for decades, Jung shared a visceral understanding that everything should be peaceful. "The Korean diaspora scattered around the world has lived with a longing for their hometown and a deep nostalgia for a hometown they cannot return to due to division,” Jung reflected.

"In the recent White House rally and prayer event, we, as representatives of the Korean diaspora, intensified the unified appeal for a peace agreement. Our goal was to spotlight the conclusion of the 70-year ceasefire and galvanize the involvement of churches in both Korea and the United States, specifically the United Methodist Church and Presbyterian Church (USA), to actively contribute to the ongoing pursuit of peace in Korea," shared Jung.

Driven by a profound belief that peace is not only a regional imperative but a global necessity, Jung has taken on multiple leadership roles, serving as the president of the General Board of Global Ministry, chair of the United Methodist Korean National Plan, and a member of the Ecumenical Forum for Korea in Geneva, Switzerland.

"God wants peace on the Korean Peninsula, and for world peace, peace on the Korean Peninsula must be achieved," Jung emphasized.

For Jung, the peace movement is more than just strategic planning. "In prayer, we can transform division and refrain from demonizing our sisters and brothers in the North. Through prayer, we can nurture hope despite the heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Expressing solidarity with the Korean churches in our prayers strengthens our contribution to the ecumenical efforts for permanent peace in Korea," he said. 

Against the backdrop of the 70th anniversary of the Korean Armistice Agreement, Jung reflected on the fourth Korean Methodist Church-United Methodist Church-World Methodist Council roundtable, a gathering that saw Methodists from around the world standing shoulder-to-shoulder in solidarity and prayer. The focus: enhancing the Methodist church's contribution to the peacebuilding process in the region. "We monitor and persuade our church to be responsive, enhancing the normalization of U.S. and North Korea relationships," Jung shared. He underscored the importance of advocacy, networking, and active engagement to remove obstacles hindering humanitarian aid, emphasizing a commitment to peaceful processes.

For Jung, the Korean diaspora is not just a scattered community but a testament to resilience, survival, and a relentless pursuit of peace. Through rallies and prayers, the Korean diaspora amplifies its collective call for a peace agreement, transforming its history into a powerful force for change. "Division and conflict were their reality, and it remained as an indelible wound and trauma. So peace on the Korean Peninsula is the face of a mother and the warm hearts of brothers. Now, from a place of anti-colonialism and new equality and human rights, we are discussing peace on the Korean Peninsula. It can be said to be a very existential and primordial place of faith," shared Jung. 

Jung emphasized the divine calling to foster global peace, reflecting on the historic Tozanso process of 1984 led by the World Council of Churches. The urgent mission of the church, amid the pressing global migration crisis, is underscored, addressing the plight of over 70 million displaced individuals. He drew attention to the harsh realities of ongoing conflicts, citing the Gaza Strip and the Russia/Ukraine war, highlighting the necessity of prayer in response.

As Jung envisions a future where the church becomes a healing force and a beacon of peace, his story unfolds as a narrative woven with threads of faith, prayers, and a collective call for reconciliation.I am grateful that churches and NGOs around the world are supporting this and praying and joining in as an urgent path to peace. In particular, the strong participation and solidarity of the World Council of Churches serves as an indicator not only for the Korean church but also for many Christians who pray for peace on the Korean Peninsula,” said Jung.