Build up the body of Christ. Support the Pentecost Offering.

Choose Peace!

A Letter from Unzu Lee, serving as Regional Liaison for East Asia

Spring 2023

Write to Unzu Lee

Individuals:  Give online to E132192 in honor of Unzu Lee’s ministry

Congregations: Give to D500115 in honor of Unzu Lee’s ministry

Give online:


Subscribe to my co-worker letters

Dear companions on the journey,

I hope you have all started this new year of the rabbit with energy and hope. Here in Korea, it still feels pretty cold, but the sun is definitely rising earlier and setting later. I’d bet some of you are beginning to see rabbits hopping around.  

North and South Korea

Sometime last year when I was trying to write another letter to you, I suddenly realized that I was identifying myself with the writers of the epistles like Paul for the first time. A bit startled and amused, I wondered what thoughts went through Paul when he wrote his letters. In my case, every time I start thinking about writing a letter to you, I ponder questions such as: Is there good news that I want to share? What story would the reader be interested to hear about? Am I not being redundant? These questions unfortunately do not go away with time since this letter writing is one directional. As much as I am deeply grateful that I have you to write to, I wish I could hear what you have to say about my letters. This time, I am glad that I know what I need to write about. It is about the experience of my Interpretation Assignment (IA) because that is the promise I made in my last letter.

My presbytery is the Presbytery of the Highlands of New Jersey, and therefore, I decided to go to the NJ/NY area for my IA. The Stony Point Center became my temporary home. Beginning with a lovely lunch meeting at the presbytery office on September 22, 2022, I visited with four groups of Presbyterians.

Presbyterian Women of the First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York hosted my first IA event on September 29, my birthday. This was a great start as PW has a special meaning for me. Talking about North Korea is never easy. Talking about the role that the U.S. plays in the conflict is very challenging. Therefore, I approached it with a lot of caution. Those who came were, however, very gracious, attentive and engaging. After hearing about the 70-year conflict between the two Koreas, one participant asked if there were spaces where people from North Korea and South Korea were coming together to engage one another across differences. There are, but, they are too few and too far in between.

On October 2, I was at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Auburn, New York. I preached and co-officiated communion during worship; and afterward, I led a forum. Toward the end of the forum, an unexpected thing happened. Prompted by one of the PowerPoint slides I showed, the chair of the mission committee who sponsored the forum said that she was going to work with a local community theater to present Crossings—a documentary film about 30 women peacemakers from around the world who crossed the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) from North to South Korea in 2015 that was released last year. I hope this really happens!

End the Korean War

On October 9, I offered a Minute for Mission during worship and led a forum over lunch at First Presbytery of Rockaway, NJ. The forum was well attended, and we had a lively Q&A. One question that comes up almost every time I talk about the Korean conflict is the economic disparity between the two Koreas, but this time, one member asked me if I had looked into the economic model adopted by unified Vietnam for the future of unified Korea. My answer was ‘no,’ and I instantly understood why I hadn’t. It is because, in the case of the Vietnamese unification, it was the Communists who won the war. That is not a scenario that people like me who grew up hating North Korea could consider as a viable option. I learned a valuable lesson from this, and I made a promise to myself to study the Vietnamese case.   

The last forum I led was on October 11, and it was a virtual forum hosted by First Presbyterian Union Church, Owego, NY, and the Susquehanna Valley Presbytery. In this forum, I spoke specifically about the role the Christian church has played in connection to the Korean conflict. At each event, everyone was invited to participate in the Korea Peace Appeal campaign, and most did. Although it was only a month-long IA, I returned to Korea with a sense of having gained a lot more companions on my journey for God’s mission for peace and reconciliation. 

We are currently witnessing unusually high tensions on the Korean peninsula. North Korea is overwhelming the U.S.’s missile system with intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMS), and the U.S. and South Korea are ramping up joint military exercises. The backdrop to this endless cycle of provocations is the U.S.—China great-power competition. Experts are calling now a very critical time. As followers of Jesus who came to us as the Prince of Peace, war cannot be an option. Please visit the PC(USA)’s Korea Peace Appeal webpage ( peacemaking/korea-peace-appeal) and add your signature if you have not done so yet. Please take the sign-up sheet to your church and invite others to add their signature. July 27, 2023, marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Korea Armistice Treaty of which the U.S. is one of the three signatories. Let that day be the day when the Armistice Treaty is replaced by a Peace Agreement! You can help usher in that new era of peace! The National Council of Churches in Korea will be taking a delegation to the UN Assembly in September to deliver the signatures collected. 

 In early March, I will be finally making my first trip to Hong Kong to visit PC(USA)’s partners in Hong Kong where many people of strong faith live in the midst of many challenges. Please pray for me and for Hong Kong. Your accompaniment is very important.



Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

  • Subscribe to the PC(USA) News

  • Interested in receiving either of the PC(USA) newsletters in your inbox?

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.