Churches commit to 'just peace' in East Asia

By agency reporter
October 15, 2014

A conference in Germany has affirmed the commitment of working together with churches in South Korea and Japan towards a “common journey of spiritual renewal and prophetic calling” for a “just peace” in the region.

The letter issued at the conference on “Just Peace in East Asia” held from 29 September – 1 October 2014 in Wittenberg was drafted by participants from Germany, South Korea and Japan.

The conference was organised by the German East Asia Mission (DOAM), a founding member of EMS-Evangelical Mission in Solidarity and BMW-Berlin Mission, and the Wittenberg Protestant Academy.

The letter urged the churches to support those impacted by the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima and advocates against nuclear weapons. It recognises protests against the construction of a military marine port on Jeju-Island in South Korea and Okinawa in Japan, urging churches to defend human rights and to hold accountable the governments involved.

The conference encouraged support for healing, reconciliation, cooperation and peace on the Korean Peninsula. The participants also promoted advocacy for an accurate interpretation of Article 9 of the Japanese Peace Constitution that follows the original intention of eliminating military engagement.

Speaking to the churches in South Korea and Japan, the letter states, “We begin to realise how the demands are growing for you, as well as for us, to be ‘com-pan-ions’ – those who share the bread – on the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace. At times, walking this path might lead us to unpopular decisions, and put us in minority positions, even in opposition to ‘principalities and powers’”.

“We offer to you our prayers, our continuous support, our visits and invitations, our commitment to accompany you on your ways, as we ask you to accompany us.”

“At times, we might be caught up in our own limited contextual or cultural or even denominational and institutional awareness, we might be ‘blind’ or one-sided in our ways of thinking, reasoning and acting. We trust that you will help us to see what is necessary in order to be faithful companions on the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace,” affirms the letter.

DOAM is a mission society which stems from Protestant theology of the 19th century influenced by Schleiermacher. Founded in 1884 by Swiss and German representatives in Weimar, it has been engaged in studying religions and dialogue with people of other faith. The East Asia Mission was mainly active in China and Japan. DOAM’s work in Japan led in the 1970s to the founding of the Tomisaka Christian Center in Tokyo, which has worked since then on social ethics.

[Ekk/3]

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