Swords to Plowshares

By Rev Dr Paul Goh

Posted in News

L to R: Rev Lawrie Linggood (Convenor, Korean Partnership Support Group), Rev Jong Bum Park (Ex-Chairperson,
Iksan Presbytery, PROK), Rev Sue Ellis, Rev Philip Gardner, Mrs Seon Yeoung Baek (Wife of Rev Tae Hoi Heo),
Rev Tae Hoi Heo (Chairperson, Iksan Presbytery, PROK). Rev Do Young Kim (Korean Partnership Support Group),
Moderator Rev Peter Morel, Rev Bang Hwan Na Rev (Chairperson-elect, Iksan Presbytery, PROK)

Praying together for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula

We The Uniting Church in Australia ‘believe that Christians in Australia are called to bear witness to a unity of faith and life in Christ which transcends cultural and economic, national and racial boundaries’ (The Basis of Union, Para. 2). In response to God’s call, our South Australian Synod has built a special relationship with the Iksan Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea, for a missional partnership that has continued for over thirty years!

At its June Synod meeting, a new Memorandum of Understanding between the two churches was signed for the next 5-year period, and two common commitments were stated:

praying for one another and for the people of Australia and the people of Korea

praying for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the 1953 Armistice Agreement which established a ceasefire, but not a formal end, to the Korean War. Soon after achieving liberation from Japanese colonial rule, the Korean Peninsula was divided into North and South as an effect of the Cold War and the experiences and tragedy of the Korean War.

The Korean War left millions of casualties, countless separated families. The unresolved state of war since 1953 has posed security risks, led to increased militarisation, and incurred major political and economic costs for the people on the Korean Peninsula. Koreans, both on the Korean Peninsula and in the Korean diaspora worldwide, have endured an interminable period of pain. It is time to end this pain. End the Korean War Now. With our faith we confess that God ‘shall judge between many peoples and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.’ (Micah 4:3 NRSV).

Korea Peace Appeal is an international campaign that seeks to amplify voices calling for an end to the Korean War and a transition from armistice to peace on the Korean Peninsula. More than seventy international  partner organisations, including the World Council of Churches (WCC), are supporting the Korea Peace Appeal. At 15th Assembly in 2018, the Uniting Church in Australia resolved to support a Peace Treaty between two Koreas and partnership work towards a peaceful Korean peninsula. A formal declaration of the end of the Korean War could be a powerful circuit-breaker and catalyst for peace. You are invited to sign to support this cause at https://en.endthekoreanwar.net/.

On 13th August, standing in solidarity with Korean churches we are invited to join them in a global prayer for peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula and accompany their efforts towards a permanent peace regime in the region and the world as they seek ‘a united country that contributes to world peace.’ At this special service, you might like to use a prayer composed by the National Council of Churches in Korea at this link: Global prayer for peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula-23 August 2023 | World Council of Churches (oikoumene.org)

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