NCCK Young Adults Peace March

gangwondo barbed wire

This coming July, my partner, the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) is inviting Korean young adults residing around the world to participate in a Peace March week long program on Korea’s division, war, and hope for reconciliation. They are especially interested in Korean Americans (and Korean Canadians/Germans/Japanese/etc.) participating, and they have asked me to send a special invite to Korean Americans in the PC(USA). They hope this will be a significant time, the 70th anniversary of Korea’s division, for Korean residents in other countries to encourage their communities to join the movement for reconciliation on the Korean peninsula. It is VERY SHORT notice, I am afraid, so if you have this week free in July, please jump on this. Details below!

2015 DMZ Walkathon for Peace and Reunification on the Korean Peninsula

Christian Young Adults,
Harvesting Peace from the Site of Division

Dates: July 20(Mon.) – 25(Sat.), 2015
*The actual program will depart from Seoul around 7-8am Monday the 20th. Traveling from the US you should arrive in Seoul by Sunday the 19th. NCCK cannot provide accommodations the evening of the 19th, but we can suggest affordable options. The program will end upon return to Seoul around 10pm Friday the 25th.

Participants: Korean immigrant young adults aged 18-40 around the world including Germany, US, Japan, Canada, etc. Denominational affiliation is not necessary. (Korean citizens will be considered as potential volunteer staff)

Cost: $400 USD participation fee (negotiable) – airfare and flight reservations are on your own.

Registration: Please fill out this Peace March Application and email it to Rev. Kurt Esslinger at elfslinger [at] gmail [dot] com. Also direct any questions to me at that email.

Theme and Bible Text

Theme: Christian Young Adults, Harvesting Peace from the Site of Division

Bible Text: Ephesians 2:14-16 (NIV)

“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.”

Program Aims:

1) To enable the young generation to reflect on the reality of the division through visiting the Demilitarized Zone area, “the symbolic place of the division”;
2) To provide an educational opportunity in which they can learn about the division system;
3) To empower the young generation to articulate on the vision and mission for peace and reunification on the Korean peninsula;
4) To encourage the young generation to seek ways to bring about their commitment to peace-building in Korea and beyond;
5) To build a global youth network for peace and reunification in Korea and beyond

Walkathon course: Cheorwon-gun ~ Inje-gun~Gosoung-gun, along the DMZ in Kangwon province. The total length of travel for six days will be approximately 112miles and in six days’ walkathon program, the participants will walk about 29miles. Activities will likely include worship, lectures, peace and reconciliation workshops, visits to DMZ unification observatories, significant sites of Korean War history, peace museums, Seoraksan mountain walking, etc. The program will be carried out bilingually in English and Korean.

* DMZ is the border between the northern side of South Korea and the southern side of North Korea. It bears much history about the division. It would be a very meaningful journey to travel along the DMZ line in Kangwon province as this province carries a painful division history. The total length of the DMZ is approximately 155 miles.

Background

In 1945 Korea was liberated from Japanese occupation. However, immediately after the liberation Korea was divided into the communist North and the capitalist South. Five years later this division became the major cause of the Korean War (1950 to 1953) in which more than six million people were killed and the entire country was completely destroyed. The consequence of the three years’ war was the solidification of the division system. Today Korea’s division is the only remaining case of the Cold War. The 70 years’ division has caused confrontation and antagonism between the two Koreas, bringing unbearable han[1] to minjung (grassroots people) in the two Koreas. There are still more than 120,000 separated families in the South Korea and their number is increasing as saetemin (North Korean defectors) are gradually on the rise. Pain and suffering among the North Koreans have been aggravated by the decades-long sanctions against the North from the international community. Moreover, the military confrontation between North and South Korea (and the US) is escalating as the daily reality of the Cold War rhetoric between two Koreas continues. Consequently the Korean peninsula can be a flashpoint at any time, threatening peace and security in the entire region and beyond.

God’s Shalom is not possible without a true reconciliation with our sisters and brothers. God requests us to reconcile with them first before we come to God for worship. (Mt. 5:23-24). Reconciliation with people is a prerequisite to reconciliation with God. True faith requires sincere commitment to the healing and reconciliation of the broken relationship among people. Reconciliation is a long process of true repentance, justice, forgiveness, and healing. It also requires us to accept otherness and respect the values of others.

The people of the two Koreas have committed sin against each other during the 70 years’ division, hating each other and even killing each other. For Korean Christians, therefore, the “mission for reconciliation and peace” is not an option but an urgent necessity.

One of the significant roles of the church today is to enable our young generation to experience the division and to encourage our young adults to be more attentive to the mission for reconciliation and peaceful reunification in Korea.

It is in this light that the Reunification Committee of the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK), in cooperation with partner churches in the U.S.A, Germany, and Japan[2], proposes a walkathon program, “DMZ Peace March for Peace and Reunification on the Korean Peninsula.” This program will provide a platform in which the young generation of Korea and overseas meet each other, reflect on the reality of the division and work together to find out ways to bring their commitment to peace-building in Korea and beyond.

[1] Han, a Korean word, is a deep feeling that rises out of all those unjust experiences of sufferings.

[2] The program is co-organized with the ecumenical partners of the NCCK which include: Ecumenical Youth Council in Korea (EYCK), Korean Reunification Committee of the United Methodist Church, Korean Church Association in Germany and Korean Christian Council in Japan. Kurt is participating as support staff on behalf of PC(USA).

Registration: Please fill out this Peace March Application and email it to Rev. Kurt Esslinger at elfslinger [at] gmail [dot] com. Also direct any questions to me at that email.

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2 Responses to NCCK Young Adults Peace March

  1. Reblogged this on Along the Graybeard Trail and commented:
    An invitation from our partners in Korea to participate in a peace walk
    2015 DMZ Walkathon for Peace and Reunification on the Korean Peninsula
    Christian Young Adults,
    Harvesting Peace from the Site of Division
    Dates: July 20(Mon.) – 25(Sat.), 2015

  2. Pingback: World Mission Budget Need | Hyeyoung and Kurt's Korean Adventure

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