Leaders from the Korean Ministry Plan and Korean Peace Committee presented a report at Thursday afternoon’s plenary session, asking for prayers for peace and reunification for Korea. “The thick clouds of the Cold War have never been cleared from the skies and lives of two Koreas, because the Korean War never ended officially and peacefully with a peace treaty; rather, it has been paused. The Korean War Armistice has left Korea in a state of escalating tension and conflicts during the last 63 years,” the leaders said.

The Korean Armistice Agreement, signed in 1953, established a cease-fire and new border between North and South Korea, but many families were never able to reunite after the war and the countries’ relationship remains tenuous. “This is why working for reconciliation and peace in the Korean peninsula is not a political endeavor but a gospel calling. The United Methodist Church, along with many ecumenical partners, has long been calling to establish a lasting peace and reconciliation in the Korean peninsula,” leaders said.

At a special Korea Night Dinner that evening, attendees watched several documentaries detailing the history of the Korean Methodist Church, and Bishop Jung reiterated a call for a full resolution to the conflict through meaningful conversation between North Korea and the United States. “We [the Peace Committee] have urged the United States and other governments to carry out genuine engagement with North Korea,” he said. “Through ongoing discussions about nuclear weapon and missile tests, and talks in both multilateral and bilateral settings, we believe that there is hope, our only hope, of settling the peace of the peninsula and preserving meaningful access to the North Korean people. God is calling us to let go of the past and start forgiving, loving and making peace with one another. We need your prayerful support for the right advocacy and policy changes around this peace-making journey.”

Other highlights of the dinner included a performance by I Solisti Roma, a choir of Korean opera singers; and a symbolic closing benediction from Bishop Rosemarie Wenner. “Germany was once divided but experienced reunification,” Bishop Young Jin Cho of the Virginia Epsicopal Area said, “and we pray soon, and very soon, it will happen for Korea.”

Click here to watch recorded video of the plenary report and click here to watch a documentary shown at the dinner.