Ecumenical Peace Network in NEA

2004

Northeast Asian churches urged to initiate Ecumenical Peace Network

SEOUL, Korea CCA General Secretary Dr Ahn Jae Woong has urged the churches in Northeast Asia to initiate an Ecumenical Peace Network (EPN) to streamline and strengthen the already existing peace building efforts by them.

Addressing a meeting here of the WCC member churches and national councils in Northeast Asia, Ahn Jae Woong said that the EPN "should be set up out of hope and with a forward-looking vision so that it could provide ecumenical space for building peace in the Northeast Asia."

Ahn expressed the view that the nations of Northeast Asia are getting ready to stand up and be noticed.
"Nations with fiercely nationalistic histories are getting tired of being directed, or worse yet, dictated by the United States."

They are becoming part of the new power blocs to balance the US global domination, he said.
Quoting from WCC General Secretary Samuel Kobia’s book, The Courage to Hope, that "When people act out of hope, they become forward-looking; they are liberated from captivity to the past and fear of a tomorrow that is no better than yesterday," he said that promoting Korean unification and related issues in the region could be an important agenda for the EPN.

-  The EPN, according to him, could handle the following:

-  Information sharing or e-networking

-  Exchange of personnel and experts

-  Resource sharing, peace education and peace building programs

-  Occasional meeting/workshops

-  Advocacy work and lobbying

-  Joint action and solidarity networking

-  Strengthening ecumenical fellowship for peace building

Ahn told the 20-21 August church representatives meeting, organised prior to the WCC executive committee meeting, that initiating the EPN is part of helping lessen "one another’s burden" which is an "important ecumenical virtue and priority."  Burdens of people in the WCC member countries are increasing, he noted.

"Help carry one another’s burdens is a high moral of the ecumenical movement," he said and added that "it is something to do with the sharing and solidarity in our ecumenical movement in our time." (AEN) 

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