By Hisashi Yukimoto
The Korea Host Committee for the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) are proposing a number of events for the gathering that focus on the “reconciliation and unification on the Korean peninsula,” according to a new report called “Korea Peace Project.”
The report will be presented at the upcoming WCC Assembly Preparations Committee meeting in Geneva at the end of July, according to Rev. Heawon Chae, director of the NCCK’s Department of Reconciliation and Unification.
The WCC’s 10th Assembly will be held from 30 October to 8 November 2013 in Busan, South Korea, with the theme “God of life, lead us to justice and peace.”
The projects outlined in the report include a Peace Train which would “travel from Berlin, which experienced its own division and unification,” to Busan, via Moscow, Beijing, Pyongyang, and Seoul. It is designed to penetrate “the barrier between South and North Koreas, thus sending a message of peace to the WCC Assembly,” according to the report.
Other projects include a Peace Concert and Peace Madang, a pre-Assembly event in seven countries that would include seminars, candlelight peace worship, and peace messages.
“Madang is the traditional Korean ‘courtyard’ connecting different parts of a house; a space for discussion, deliberation, celebration and fellowship; a traditional center of family and community life,” noted the report.
“Churches in Germany and in Russia have expressed their full support of the [Peace Train] project and to having Peace Madang in Berlin and in Moscow,” said Chae.
The report notes several challenges to the projects, including potential problems for participants in obtaining visas, the long duration (about 18-20 days) of the Peace Train’s journey, and fund raising issues with Korean churches, their partners, and the government.
The number of people involved–including about one hundred musicians, painters, and peace activists–also poses political and diplomatic challenges.