South Korea (PROK)
One of the main concerns of our South Korean friends is the plight of their families in North Korea. In solidarity with this, we have therefore pledged ourselves to learn more about the North Korean situation and stand alongside the PROK church where we can in their efforts to alleviate distress and suffering in North Korea.
Review and Renewal of PROK Partnership 2015
With structural changes over the years, the partnership is currently between the Uniting Church in Australia, Presbytery and Synod of South Australia and the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK), Gunsan and Iksan Presbyteries. The current Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed in Adelaide on Thursday, 28 October 2010 at the Annual Meeting of the Presbytery/Synod at which the Moderators of both the Gunsan and Iksan Presbyteries were present, together with other visitors from Korea. This Partnership MOU covers the period from January 2011 to 31 December 2016, with the provision for review and renewal in the future (see Attachment D). Iksan Presbytery has recently confirmed its interest in renewing the Partnership; however Gunsan Presbytery seems unlikely to do so.
At the 2015 annual Presbytery and Synod meeting, it was resolved that the Partnership between the Uniting Church in Australia, Presbytery and Synod of South Australia and the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK) Iksan Presbytery be renegotiated and extended considering:
- inclusion of a specific section in the MOU highlighting and clearly stating the importance of Building Relationships between both partners
- the formal recognition of a PROK Support Group to facilitate and promote the partnership on behalf of the Presbytery and Synod in consultation with the International Mission Officer and raising awareness of the partnership through information sharing at meetings of the Presbytery and Synod and via New Times/UCE News which invite participation of congregations in projects developed in terms of any renegotiated MOU
- Youth exchanges to be actively promoted and pursued during the life of the partnership. This aspect needs careful and creative assessment and will involve all Mission Resourcing staff
- vocational and professional development currently includes a broad range of possibilities –for example linking those in the medical, palliative care and social work professions and with disability and related chaplaincy ministries - and must include developing those surrounding theological studies in Australia and Korea
- Sabbatical stays and retreats need to be promoted by both partners
- the sharing of a mission project with PROK (e.g. as has been the case with the UCCP in the Philippines) enabling the two partner churches to work together, strengthening relationships and working towards the reconciliation to which God calls us and
- invite our PROK partners to consider ongoing support for the Adelaide Korean Congregation as a mission opportunity, given the desire for consolidation and growth
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PROK Mission Visit 2014
In mid-October 2014 we greeted members of the PROK [Presbyterian Church of the Republic of Korea] who arrived from South Korea to visit Uniting Church congregations in Adelaide. This was a very beneficial experience for 12 brothers and sisters from Iksan Presbytery of PROK and they enjoyed the home stay arrangements with our PROK (South Korea) Support Group of 10 people – all of whom actively collaborated with the International Mission Office to develop and implement a 6 day visit itinerary.
The 2014 PROK visit to Adelaide introduced our partners to the work of UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide and City Soul (Experience Café), a ministry concept very new to them. Our PROK partners unashamedly express their love of creation. They include wonderful rural experiences for those visiting them and are quite open in sharing how beautiful their country is and how wonderfully God has made it. They marvel at the vastness of our bushland and the uniqueness our native animals. A much-appreciated experience by our Korean visitors in 2014 was a Holy Communion service shared together in the Bush Chapel at Nuriootpa. The much longed for reconciliation of those on the Korean peninsula is a constant topic for prayer for which we are earnestly asked to pray.
The visits to the SA Presbytery and Synod by PROK groups has been an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the connection Aboriginal People have to the Land and God. Intentional and substantial components of such visits have included connections with Congress and a range of Aboriginal organisations such as Pomberuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Murray Bridge, Tandanya, the Living Kaurna Cultural Centre at Warriparinga and the Colebrook Home Memorial Park. The 2014 PROK visitors reported this component as the highlight of their visit to South Australia.
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Links to learn more about Korea
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Moderator's Trip to South Korea 2012
In May 2012, the Moderator, Rev. Rob Williams with his wife Collette and ten others from the Uniting Church in South Australia visited our partner church, The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK) – Iksan and Gunsan Presbyteries. Highlights of the trip included enjoying the wonderful hospitality of the South Korean church and meeting old friends from that church and making new ones. We also learnt from their dedication to consistent prayer and commitment to mission. Rev. Lee from PROK, who has maintained this partnership for over 20 years, was thanked as Rev. Tae Choi has now taken over this role.
We look forward to continuing to further this friendship between this South Korean church and our Uniting Church in South Australia.
2010 Renewal of our Partnership
In October 2010, eleven people from the Presbyterian Church in South Korea (PROK) visited Adelaide to renew the partnership with the Uniting Church in South Australia. Due to the strength of this relationship of twenty years, the South Koreans suggested that the partnership be extended for a further five years.
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