In a warm greeting to those gathered, WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca said that, since the WCC 10th Assembly in Busan, South Korea, the WCC has renewed and strengthened its support for and commitment to increased ecumenical efforts for peace, reconciliation, and reunification of the divided Korean people.
“In this regard, I am sure that you have come to pray for transforming the demilitarized zone into a peace park, for the peaceful reunification of the two Koreas, and for the world community to work for greater peace in the world,” said Sauca. “I hope that this gathering will contribute to the life of the WCC 11th assembly in Karlsruhe as the worldwide fellowship of churches will reflect on the journey of reconciliation and unity.”
Sauca added that the WCC is “highly encouraged” by the bilateral conversation between the churches in Korea and the German embassy in Seoul to pursue the Christian calling to be peacemakers and to express a strong commitment to peace. “We look forward to continuing this pilgrimage with all of you,” said Sauca.
German ambassador in Korea H.E. Michael Reiffenstuel expressed how honored he was to participate in the event. “Freedom and independence are not for free,” he said. “The war between the two Koreas ended with an armistice on 27 July 1953,” noting that the prayers and concert took place on that date as well.
“History may not repeat itself, but it is evident, that we must learn from history and undertake all efforts to prevent future suffering and misery,” said Reiffenstuel. “The role of the churches all over the world is decisive in success or failure of this endeavor.”
The ambassador noted that, before COVID-19 spread across the world, a meeting between church members from North and South Korea took place. “Germany strongly supports the goal to achieve a sustainable peace on the Korean Peninsula,” said Reiffenstuel. “May today’s event also contribute to achieving this noble goal!”
Rev. Hong-Jung Lee, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in Korea, expressed the hope that churches will become ambassadors for reconciliation.
"After the WCC 10th Assembly in Busan, the ecumenical pilgrimage of the churches in Korea that transforms the Cold War system into a spirit of reconciliation will be firmly reaffirmed in the 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe,” said Lee. “On our way to Karlsruhe, I hope that churches in Korea and all around the world will become ambassadors for reconciliation who sing the songs of peace."