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Focus on South Korea

Population: 48.6 million (UN, 2012)

Capital: Seoul

Major language: Korean

Major religions: Buddhism, Christianity; nearly half of adults profess no religion

Life expectancy: 77 years (men), 84 years (women) (UN)

Monetary unit: won

Main exports: Electronic products, machinery, transport equipment

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Prayer for South Korea

God of our distant families

You have given grace to your saints

Of every age and every continent:

Known and unknown,

May we cherish their memories

Be strengthened by their witness

And together walk your way of love

Amen

 

The Anglican Church in Korea is a long-standing partner of USPG


Ms Hanna Kim is a lecturer at Sungkonghoe Anglican University in South Korea.

She offers the following thoughts on the challenges that new technology presents to the church, both in her country and globally.

As a leader of new technology, South Korea has put a huge amount of resources into developing internet technology, especially the online gaming industry. An estimated 40 million people in South Korean now use the internet – almost 80 per cent of the population.

For many people, face-to-face communication has been replaced by Facebook-to-Facebook communication – and there are signs that this is affecting how people think and behave, and how they relate to each other.

Being online provides an opportunity to interact with an increasingly diverse range of people and it can offer a sense of community (whether illusory or otherwise).

However, alongside these attractions, online communication is also creating social problems. Cyber-crime and cyber-bullying is a new reality. It is as if when some people go online, they forget they are interacting with real people with real feelings.

As we move forward with this new technology, I pray that God will help us to love each regardless of whether we are meeting in the virtual or the non-virtual world.


Peace and reconciliation between North and South Korea

Reaching out to their neighbours in North Korea remains a mission priority for the Anglican Church in Korea.

Speaking to USPG (then USPG) in 2011, the Most Revd Paul Keun-Sang Kim, Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church of Korea, said: ‘All my concern at the moment is focussed on reconciliation and peace in the Korean peninsula. My hope is that the Anglican Communion can contribute something towards this wish of our people for achieving peace.’

The USPG link with the Anglican Church in Korea dates back to early missionary engagement over 100 years ago, and we have funded work there ever since.

In 2007, the church set up the humanitarian initiative Towards Peace in Korea (TOPIK), with support from USPG.

TOPIK co-ordinator the Revd Joachim H Kim said the Anglican Church could play a key role in healing animosity in the region that is a legacy of the 1950 Korean War.

He explained: ‘Due to the war, some people have become slaves of anger, animosity and apathy. It is regrettable that this is also the case among some Christians. Our Lord called us to be peace-makers, so TOPIK is trying to stimulate peace sensibilities among clergy and lay people – focusing especially on the younger generations, who will be responsible for our future.’


Peace initiatives

TOPIK has initiated a range of peace initiatives both inside and outside the church, including an ecumenical peace camp for young people and a peace group for Anglican priests.

TOPIK has also supplied humanitarian aid to residents of Ra-Sun city, over the border in North Korea, including nutritionally-enhanced milk for infants and coal briquettes for people facing fuel shortages.

USPG Director for Global Relations Rachel Parry said: ‘The Anglican Church of Korea is responding as effectively and compassionately as it can to this humanitarian situation and seeks international Anglican cooperation to enable this to continue.’

 


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The Most Revd Dr Mouneer Anis, Bishop of Egypt

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