The cost of unity?

Forum Worship

Forum Worship

The Ecumenical Forum for Peace in North East Asia was held in Seoul, Korea at the initiative of the Presbyterian Church in the Korea (PCK) and the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK). The event marked the 100th General Assembly of the two churches but also the 70th anniversary of the end of Japanese occupation at the end of World War II. The forum was dominated by the desire for the re-unification of Korea and held in the heightened tension between North and South. At several points in the conversation we were made aware of the wider forces at work. The division of Korea suits the needs of both China and the USA, globalisation often puts the interests of the powerful before the needs of those separated from loved ones.
North Korea

North Korea

In dreaming of a new future for the people of North East Asia the church has the opportunity of offering an alternative globalisation in which people come before profits. The Forum made a commitment to seek out ways of reconciliation and peace but any effort requires the co-operation of people beyond the church. Our partners ask for our prayers and support as they pursue the vison of a united Korea but there is a cost to such unity. The language of re-unification can suggest that future unity simply means making the North more like the South. That isn’t going to happen and the question remains how much change the people of both Koreas are willing to accept if they are to remove the barriers that divide them.
The visit to Seoul also included the opportunity to preach at one of the churches of the PCK. With four services each Sunday with an attendance of 1200 at each service and a different choir of 80, orchestra of 15 and contemporary music group of 15 for each this was not your average URC! We are part of a global community and it is good to be reminded that others flourish in the faith as we persist in our faithfulness despite the lack of popular appeal.
David Grosch-Miller
Final Benediction at PCK Assembly

Final Benediction at PCK Assembly

PS I hope that fuller accounts of my visits to Papua New Guinea and Korea will appear on the URC website or in Reform at a later stage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *