Church of Sweden

Christians in peace demonstration at North Korean border

Press Release   •   Nov 05, 2013 12:24 GMT

Several hundred Christians, including many Swedes, from the Assembly of the World Council of Churches prayed at the border between North and South Korea – a powerful demonstration for peace and reconciliation between the two countries. Photo: Mikael Stjernberg

Christians from all over the world took part in a demonstration for peace and reconciliation between North and South Korea. The demonstration took place on Saturday beside the military demarcation line, which is under heavy military surveillance, between the two countries on the Korean peninsula. Participants came from the Assembly of the World Council of Churches, which is taking place in Busan, South Korea, and which has brought together over three thousand participants from all over the world on the theme of justice and peace.

This past weekend a group from the Assembly travelled to Seoul, where around 400 of them visited Imjingak and the military demarcation line that divides the Korean peninsula.

Concrete action for peace
“I was deeply moved by standing at the border to North Korea. By standing with people from all over the world, praying for reunification of the people in the two countries. By sharing the pain they must endure, but also by seeing the hope that is still alive among the Korean people. The prayer “God of life, lead us to justice and peace” took on a very tangible meaning when we said it while standing there,” says Johan Åkesson from the Church of Sweden delegation in Busan. Ylva Sarri, from the Sami Council of the Church of Sweden describes her own experience:

“It was very strange to sit there and look out over the world’s most closed country. You can’t help wondering what is going on in there and how things are for its people.”

During the demonstration, participants were asked to write down a prayer for peace on a silk ribbon, which they then put up on a notice board near the military demarcation line.

Assembly elections
On Monday the negotiations at the Tenth Assembly of the World Council of Churches were resumed. Over three thousand participants from all parts of the world and hundreds of Christian faith communities have gathered in Busan, South Korea.
From Sweden, around 50 representatives and delegates from various faith communities are in attendance, including Archbishop Anders Wejryd and Bishop Eva Brunne. The meeting will conclude on Friday 8 November. For more information on the World Council of Churches, visit http://www.oikoumene.org/en.