International Mission Update - A Light for Peace

Posted in Culture

This year it is the 30th anniversary of the partnership between the Synod of SA and the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK) Iksan Presbytery. To celebrate the anniversary, the PROK Iksan Presbytery invited members of the Uniting Church in SA to South Korea, which was expected to take place between October and November. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic international travel has not been possible.

Between February and March this year the alarming rate of COVID-19 cases in South Korea was of concern for those in our partner churches. News from PROK was that in-person worship was suspended and subsequently the church moved online. At this time, it was a foreign concept for us in Australia – little did we realise that we would soon succumb to the same fate.

In April, the Moderator Bronte Wilson wrote to our partners in South Korea on behalf of the Uniting Church PROK Support Group. We expressed our heavy hearts for the country and affirmed that the Uniting Church in SA stood in solidarity with PROK. The Vice Chairperson of the Iksan Presbytery returned a wonderful response affirming the importance of praying for one another. This response consolidated the true importance of our partnership – to be reconciled through Christ.

To be unable to undertake international mission in the way we previously had was a difficult decision to make. The new 'normal’ that we have entered into can certainly bring changes to how we as a church undertake international mission. However, despite this challenge we encourage reflection on the importance of partnerships, solidarity for social justice issues and ecumenical sharing. It opens the possibilities for many Christians to be involved in international mission in different ways into the future.


A light for Peace

A Light of Peace prayer campaign is one of the international mission activities which everyone can be involved in. This global prayer campaign encourages us all to pray for peace on the Korean Peninsula. It commenced on 1 March 2020 and concludes on 15 August 2020.

The lived experience for many people in both North and South Korea is seventy years of unresolved conflict – a lifetime for those who lived through the start of the Korean War, and for younger generations the conflict across the respective border is all they have ever known.

The World Council of Churches Asia President Rev Dr Sang Chang explained the purpose of the campaign, ‘This year, 2020, the World Council of Churches (WCC) launched the Global Prayer Campaign: We Pray, Peace Now, End the War, as an ecumenical expression of both lament and hope. It is crucial in our ecumenical journey of Pilgrimage of justice and peace that we invite all Christians to deepen our relationship with God and each other by joining in prayer for the formal end to the Korean War and the replacement of the Armistice Agreement with a permanent peace treaty. We do this because we believe prayer would lead us to stop the seventy-year long hostility and confrontation and help us to dream of peace and reunification on the Korean Peninsula.’

During the campaign and beyond, all Christians are encouraged to pray for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Mission Resourcing of the SA Synod will be facilitating an online prayer vigil for A Light of Peace. This will be available on the Synod of SA Facebook page on 15 August 2020.

To read prayers for Korea and to learn more about A Light of Peace, please visit oikoumene.org/en/get-involved/light-of-peace/light-of-peace.




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