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National Liberation Day

It's raining today in Seoul. These days there has been lots and lots of rain. It hasn't affected me too much, other than to get rather wet a few times, but it has caused serious problems elsewhere in the country.

It is also national liberation day, marking the 75th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japan in 1945. With coronavirus the celebrations are limited, but let me share with you this prayer from the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK), which is the final prayer in their 70-day prayer campaign for peace and reunification of the Korean Peninsula.
God of mercy!As this year 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from the Japanese colonial rule, we give you thanks for your marvelous gift of liberation. But the joy of liberation could not be fully celebrated for Christians in the North and South due to the Cold War relic of longstanding division and confrontation. Lord, have mercy on us!God of justice! The joy of liberation ended up being only ha…

Korean War - 70th anniversary memorial

Yesterday marked the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, which began on June 25, 1950.
During the next three years at least three million people died, probably many more. More than half of the casualties were civilians, making it one of the most deadly wars in history.
The fighting ended with a ceasefire in 1953, but no peace treaty was ever signed. Since then the two sides have continued in a hostile stalemate, divided from each other by the DMZ. Last week's destruction of the liaison office by North Korea indicates just how fragile any recent easing of the tensions has become. It is therefore an apt time to pray for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Last Saturday I travelled to the "White Horse Hill Korean War Memorial" at Cheorwon, which borders the DMZ, to take part in a peace convocation and march for peace organized by the PROK to mark the occasion.

Here is a video of the event on the WCC's YouTube channel:

Home Assignment

Since the end of February I have been in Canada on my home assignment. Coronavirus has made it much different than planned! Since I am unable to visit congregations, I have managed to put together a 10-minute video presentation on my work. You can find it here:

Watch for more details about the United Church's involvement in the global prayer campaign for peace on the Korean Peninsula, which is scheduled for Thursday, June 25, 2020 8 pm ET:


Monday Night Group

Every month I meet with a group of mission co-workers here in Korea. We offer support to each other and share perspectives and thoughts about what it means to be doing mission as a partner here in Korea.

I’m always a little bit surprised at how critical the group can be of Korean society at times – I think this reflects just how committed they are to Korea. As outsiders we see some of the contradictions that give us frustration and yet love Korea anyway!

We usually meet on a Tuesday night, but the group continues to call itself the “Monday Night Group” because the group used to meet on Monday nights back in the difficult days of the military dictatorship in South Korea, and the name has continued in memory of that struggle.

The membership in the group is somewhat fluid, because people are always coming and going. Right now the group has active participation from folks from USA, Philippines, China, India, Germany, Ireland, Japan, and Canada, working for a variety of different agencies and…

Looking back 2019

What exactly do you do over there in Korea?—is a question that people keep asking me. Little do they know how complicated the answer to this question is! My primary work (when I’m not in class) is to assist with English language communications in the Department of Partnership and Ecumenical Relations in the General Assembly Office of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (that is, PROK).

Our work in the department involves connecting the church in Korea with the church all over the world, and the main language that we use to do this is English. As important as helping with this work is, it is not actually the heart of what I do. At the heart of what I do are all the relationships that I am a part of here in Korea and elsewhere as I make connections with folks at multiple levels of Korean society. In one situation this means one thing, in other situations it means other things, so I am constantly finding myself doing new things, playing new roles, and meeting new people (as w…