Members of two U.S. churches are being asked to sign an appeal to end a war in Korea that has lasted more than 70 years.
The United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) are calling on congregations to start collecting signatures on Korea Peace Sunday, Aug. 14. Global Ministries — the shared world mission unit of the two churches — has set a goal of 10,000 signatures by next year.
The call comes at the request of a longtime Global Ministries partner, the National Council of Churches in Korea. The NCCK issued the 10,000-signature challenge to Global Ministries as part of a wider effort to gather 100 million signatures. The goal is to reach that number by 2023, the 70th-anniversary year of the armistice between North and South Korea.
UCC, Disciples and Global Ministries leaders urge people to sign the Korea Peace Appeal.
Why signatures are needed
The point of the campaign is that the armistice was not enough. “Many people believe that the Korean War ended in 1953,” said the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, the UCC’s co-executive of Global Ministries. She spoke in a video released on Aug. 8. “It did not. An armistice was signed that year with the idea that an international peace agreement would quickly replace it and formally end the war.
“It never happened. Koreans are still waiting for a peace treaty.”
“Koreans have lived in a constant state of hostility, solidified in the division of the peninsula,” said the Rev. John Dorhauer, general minister and president. “But the people of Korea have not lost hope. Their message to the world is this: Peace first. End the war now. … We can take action by calling for the replacement of the 1953 armistice agreement with a peace treaty.”
‘Reconcile families and communities’
“Each year we recognize the Sunday of Prayer for Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula on the Sunday before Aug. 15,” said Krista Johnson Weicksel, a Global Ministries program associate in global advocacy and education. “This year, in addition to praying for peace, we respond to this specific call from Korean church partners. We hope that individuals and congregations will take action for peace this Korea Peace Sunday by signing the Korea Peace Appeal.”
Doing so, Thompson said, is a way “to accompany our partners in Korea as they seek to reconcile families and communities long divided by conflict and hostility.”
Originally published on ucc.org