The latest step in the World Council of Churches’ (WCC) call for justice and peace came just outside Geneva, when church leaders from 34 countries, including representatives from both North and South Korea, gathered in Bossey to examine ways of promoting peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula.
Diána Erdélyi, Ecumenical Secretary of the Reformed Church in Hungary (RCH), participated in the discussions and represented the Reformed Church at the consultation, which took place on 17-19 June. The international group released a communiqué following its meeting that highlighted several threats and areas of concern facing Korea, and also listed a number of suggestions for the WCC that include, implementing an annual day of prayer, encouraging and equipping young people to become involved in the work toward reconciliation and calling for increased visits between North and South Korean churches.
“…it is not enough to celebrate past achievements. There are significant changes in the social, economic, ecological and political contexts of the peninsula and the surrounding region that pose new threats. We have committed ourselves to sharing the grace we have received and the lessons we have learned with the youth of our churches today to encourage and aid them as they seek to confront the new challenges that lie ahead.
…The statement on peace and reunification of the Korean peninsula adopted by the 10th Assembly of the WCC held in Busan on 30 October-8 November 2013, provides a solid foundation for a new era of international ecumenical engagement in the pilgrimage of justice and peace on the Korean peninsula. We reaffirm the recommendations and commitments expressed in that statement, and the prophetic vision and ecumenical objective of peace and reunification of Korea. We envisage a renewed process of encounter and cooperation between Korean churches and Christians in both North and South, accompanied and supported by the WCC, churches and specialized ministries around the world.”
Communiqué of the Bossey Consultation
Through the years a strong bond has formed between the RCH and its partner churches in Korea, the Presbyterian Church in Korea (PCK) and the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK). Indeed there is even shared history between the Hungarian reformed and North Korean churches, when Hungarian and North Korean pastors were sent to the same forced labor camps in Siberia.
These ties continue to strengthen and were reinforced at the consultation as Erdélyi was able to meet with the representatives from PCK and PROK and express the RCH’s shared concern for the current situation on the Korean peninsula and solidarity in the hope for unity. To the Hungarian reformed people, unity has always been a precious gift, even in the times of separation. And now, that same togetherness is encouraged and evidenced in Budapest between the three Churches, where a PCK congregation was adopted by the RCH in 2012 and where PROK missionaries are now heavily involved.
Diána Erélyi has been serving as the Ecumenical Secretary of the RCH since 2013. She holds a Master’s in International Relations, with a thesis examining the ecumenical international relations of the Reformed Church in Hungary, including its connection with Korean Presbyterian Churches. One of her responsibilities in the Ecumenical Office is overseeing the placement and management of Korean mission co-workers.
Photos via WCC