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New landing page simplifies search for Korea peace material

Single page updates and aggregates multi-media resources for easy access

by Scott O’Neill | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Kurt Esslinger and Hyeyoung Lee are PC(USA) mission co-workers in Korea. (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — More than 70 years have passed since an armistice agreement signed by the United States, China, and North Korea formally ceased hostilities between North and South Korea. The agreement provided a definitive end to the fighting, allowed for a drawback of military forces, and established a demilitarized zone to buffer the North and South as a strategy to help prevent incidents which could lead to the resumption of the Korean war. What the armistice did not do was officially end the war, as no peace treaty between the two nations has ever been signed.

As the Presbyterian calendar approaches the Season of Prayer and Reflection for Peace in the Korean Peninsula (June 25), the PC(USA)’s World Mission ministry has updated and aggregated a collection of multi-media resources devoted to helping promote a just peace for Korea onto a single web page, which can be found here.

The resources are designed to help congregations, mid councils, and individuals increase their understanding of the Korean conflict and contribute to the peace process through worship, prayer and faithful action.

“One common theme in all my visits to PC(USA) churches is that people in the U.S. tend to be unaware of the details of the conflict on the Korean Peninsula, and especially the extent to which the U.S. has been a part of it,” said the Rev. Kurt Esslinger, a mission co-worker serving in Korea. “When I share all I have learned about the history of U.S. actions in Korea, many Presbyterians are surprised. Raising awareness of the reality of the situation and the U.S.’s role in ongoing conflict is vitally important for being good global neighbors.”

Esslinger noted this is not the first time PC(USA) has provided resources devoted to the Korean conflict, but it is the first time there’s been an effort to aggregate the large collection of materials into a single source on the church’s website.

Unzu Lee

Unzu Lee, regional liaison for East Asia, also noted that resources will be added and updated as they become available.

“It is a living page,” said Lee. “It’s a very comprehensive resource page as it stands now, but we look forward to bringing forth more and making the page grow.”

The effort to consolidate resources is in response to the 225th General Assembly (2022) overture from the Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse, On Advocating for a Peace Agreement in the Korean Peninsula. The overture directs the Presbyterian Mission Agency to endorse the Korea Peace Appeal, update resources previously uploaded onto the PC(USA) website, and communicate electronically via website news and articles updated resources and working links to Presbyterian entities.

“The new and updated resources now available can help us become more fully aware and deeply concerned about the threat to peace posed by the long-simmering Korean War,” said the Rev. Earl Arnold, secretary with the Presbyterian Peace Network for Korea (PPNK).  “And they can guide us into prayer and action to move our country and our world further along the road to peace.”

Some of the resources featured include PC(USA) policy statements and General Assembly actions regarding Korea, statements issued jointly by PC(USA) and its partner churches in Korea, historical documents, reflections by Koreans, worship resources and connection and advocacy opportunities.

“August 15, 2025, will mark the 80th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan. Unfortunately, with Japan’s surrender came the beginning of the era of division for Koreans,” said Lee.  “The U.S. military has been in South Korea throughout this era except for a short period of time between June 1949-50. For Koreans, the Cold War is not something of the bygone era. Since the U.S. has been moving its strategic assets to all over Asia under its “Shift to Asia” policy, divided Korea is caught in the middle of conflicting forces within the new Cold War structure, and the degree of tension between the two is growing exponentially.”

The Season of Prayer and Reflection in the Korean Peninsula begins on June 25, the day the Korean War began in 1950, and runs through August 15, the day the Japanese occupation of Korea ended in 1945 when Japan surrendered to the Allies in World War II, ending 35 years of Japanese rule in Korea.

New and updated Korea peace resources.

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