General Synod resolution asks church to advocate for unifying Korean peninsula
It’s been more than 60 years since the conclusion of the Korean War and 70 years since Korean independence from Japanese occupation, but the Asian peninsula — and the people who call that land their home — is still divided. A proposed General Synod resolution calls the wider United Church of Christ to work for the reunification of North Korea and South Korea and express support for peace and the people of Korea.
The resolution “A Call for Peace, Justice and Reunification in the Korean Peninsula” seeks to renew a call for the church to reconcile the split during the Cold War and re-unify the divided peninsula and its people. It also calls on political leaders to “commit to sign a final peace treaty ending the Korean War, and to turn from policies of militarization and confrontation between North and South Korea.” Delegates will consider the proposal when General Synod 30 convenes from June 26 to 30 in Cleveland.
“It would have the UCC join our partners in Korea and around the world, and many policy analysts, in saying that the time is overdue for a shift in U.S. policy on Korea, away from absolute isolation of the North and rampant militarization of the South, to one that seeks greater engagement and exchange between North and South Korea, the U.S. and regional partners,” said Derek Duncan, associate for global advocacy and education.
In addition to advocacy efforts, the resolution also calls upon UCC members and congregations to “accompany our partners in Korea by praying for peace with the peoples and churches of Korea, recognizing the Sunday before August 15, Korean Independence Day, as the ‘Sunday of Prayer for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula.'”
The text of the resolution notes that no formal peace treaty was signed to officially end the Korean War. Advocates for the resolution, which include some Korean Christian UCC members, are in favor of a policy that “ends the continuing Cold War stalemate by finally replacing the Armistice Agreement of 1953 [which ended the Korean War] with a permanent peace treaty, and then take steps from there toward denuclearization and reunification,” Duncan said.
Placing politics aside, Duncan believes the resolution is, at its core, about bringing families back together.
“This resolution is about the people of North and South Korea, who for more than 60 years have suffered not only the division of their land, but also of their communities. The need for reconciliation is urgent because many family members separated in the wake of the Korean War are beginning to pass away without ever having seen or hearing from their loved ones.”
After a motion by the 2013 World Council of Churches assembly in Korea, at which a UCC delegation was present, Korean Christians have taken the lead in calling on the international community to recommit itself to work for peace and reunification in the peninsula.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which shares its international ministry with the UCC through Global Ministries, will consider the same resolution at their General Assembly in July.
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