This week I celebrate the beginning of a new position for myself in addition to my role as a site coordinator alongside Hyeyoung. For Hyeyoung and me, our role as YAV site coordinator only accounts for 50% of our actual job. We spent the first year putting 100% of our time behind bringing the Korea YAV site up to speed, but now it is time for us to find the other 50% of our job. My regional liaison, Rev. Choon Lim, has made an offer to the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) that I join their office, particularly working with the Department of Reconciliation and Reunification (RRD). At the moment, this means I will be traveling to Seoul to the offices of the NCCK for two nights and three days a week, then returning to Daejeon the rest of the week. Hyeyoung is still working on her other part of the job, so for now she is assuming a greater role as YAV site coordinator staying in Daejeon while I am in Seoul. This will add difficulty on her part as she will also take care of Sahn on her own while I am in Seoul. We will probably begin leaning more on other babysitters and caretakers while looking for daycare centers Sahn might attend in the near future. It will be difficult for me to not see Sahn for three days! Pray for us as we balance this.
The details of my position will be slowly evolving as the months go by. For now, our hope is that I can facilitate more communication between the RRD and other reconciliation organizations around the world, as in Germany reunification organizations, the World Council of Churches, but also the PC(USA) denomination. There is hope that I can connect with the Office of Public Witness in Washington DC so they have a better understanding of the reconciliation movement among churches in Korea. The NCCK also hopes that I can facilitate more interaction between them and our US government in Washington DC. This activity will be of particular significance because more and more Korean organizations are realizing that they cannot hope to achieve reconciliation and an end to the Korean War on their own if other nations, especially the USA, do not participate in that same effort. I also hope to introduce more PC(USA) congregations to the reconciliation movement in Korea and its history. As the specifics of my role and tasks become clearer, I will post more updates. Perhaps the next time we visit the States on itineration we can stop by your church and I can give you a report!
Brief Snapshot of the NCCK: Several denominations in Korea created a council to work together in 1905 through the General Council of Evangelical Mission in Korea, just before annexation by the Japanese in 1910. This developed into the Chosun Christian Presbyterian-Methodist Council in 1918, which later transitioned into the Korean National Council of Protestant Churches in 1924. Eventually, this national council became known as the NCCK. Initially, the council focused on sharing the Gospel with Koreans and working on unity between the denominations. During Japanese Colonization, the council focused on the movement for Korean independence. After the Korean War 1950-1953, the NCCK worked on reconstruction of the church and society in cooperation with world partner churches. Through the 60’s and 70’s the NCCK struggled on behalf of democracy against the military dictatorships of South Korea, working on mission with the urban poor, farmers, and laborers. From the 80’s when official relationships with Christians in North Korea could be established, the NCCK pursued the peaceful reconciliation and reunification movement. This includes joint prayers along with the Korean Christian Federation in North Korea on behalf of peace every year around August 15th, the date of liberation from Japanese Occupation and the beginning of division under the competing systems of Soviet and US Occupation. They also continue to send food and medical aid to their partners in the North, visiting each year. We hope that my efforts will help strengthen communication and cooperation with world partner churches toward the goal of peace, reconciliation, and reunification on the Korean peninsula.
Current Member Denominations of the NCCK:
- Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK)
- Korean Methodist Church (KMC)
- Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK)
- Salvation Army in Korea
- Anglican Church of Korea
- Evangelical Church of Korea
- Korean Orthodox Church
- Korean Assemblies of God