Speakers explored, among other topics, the connection between this theme and that of the upcoming World Council of Churches (WCC) 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany in September 2022.
“This theme certainly resonates with the theme of the WCC’s 11th Assembly, ‘Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity,’ serving as an invitation to the churches across the world to share in the common wisdom of love to move us all to be reconciled and to find our true unity as children of God,” said WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca as he greeted the NCCK assembly. “We are bound together by the love of Christ, and called to be disciples of his love, loving one another, and transforming the world through love.”
In a keynote speech, Peter Prove, director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, thanked the National Council of Churches in Korea for its ecumenical commitment. “The WCC is grateful for your steadfast commitment and focus on the love of Christ as the driving and motivating force of our Christian ministry and witness,” said Prove.
Reflecting a shared focus on the global climate emergency, Prove stressed that the fellowship of churches in the WCC and NCCK “should continue seeking unity in the fight for climate action and climate justice, in the diminishing window of opportunity that still remains for the fundamental changes needed to prevent catastrophic climate change."
A consultation was also held on 23 November on peace-building on the Korean Peninsula, and those gathered expressed appreciation that, despite the constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCCK and the WCC could still undertake a global prayer for peace campaign in 2020 and a series of joint initiatives to mark the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War.
After the long separation due to the pandemic, they expressed hope for a face-to-face encounter between the NCCK and the Korean Christian Federation (KCF) of North Korea at the WCC 11th Assembly.
“For the WCC, our involvement in working for peace, reunification and cooperation on the Korean Peninsula combines the fundamental ecumenical objective of visible unity between the churches of the world, with the diaconal mission to respond to those in need, and the Christian calling to be peacemakers, promoting peace and dialogue instead of conflict and violence,” said Prove during the consultation.
Acknowledging the special challenges resulting from the collapse of the recent political dialogue process as well as the pandemic, Prove stressed that peace cannot wait while tensions and conflict risks escalate. “Therefore we must renew and strengthen our commitment and the efforts we make together for peace and reunification on the Korean Peninsula, despite the obstacles,” he said. “I pray that we will, through our fellowship and collaboration and with God’s help, find the wisdom and strength to overcome all such obstacles to a better future for all the people of the Korean Peninsula, and of the world.”
Dr. Park Kyung-seo, former WCC Asia secretary and former president of the Korean Red Cross, said that the so-called 'Tozanso process', where the historic meeting between the North and South Korean churches took place in 1986, should be restarted. "North and South Korean churches encountered each other earlier than the political circles, and must re-create the momentum now together with the WCC,” he emphasized.