Worshippers waiting for the "Worship for Peace" service to begin.
and South Korea
IMJINGAK, DEMILITARISED ZONE
SOME 300 participants
at the 19th World Methodist Conference attended a Sunday worship
service at Imjingak in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) between North
and South Korea on July 23.
The one-hour "Worship for Peace and Unification in Imjingak (DMZ)" was specially organised to remind Methodists the world over of the "great significance of reconciliation and peace in the Korean peninsula".
The rain that had poured the previous few days gave way to a bright morning sun as the worshippers sweltered in the outdoor service. Many wore visors provided by the Korean Methodist Church to keep off the strong sunlight, and everyone found the service meaningful and significant.
Korean War veterans
Also present at the service were three Korean War veterans
and a United Methodist bishop stationed in Korea in the 1950s.
The Rev Yang Seung Soon, a retired Korean Methodist clergyman who served during the Korean War, was one of a few survivors from the Mt Paikma battle, where he was injured.
He went to the service with United Methodist Bishop Robert E. Fannin, who was in the DMZ from 1958 to 1960.
At the service, they joined two other Korean War veterans from the United States. They were Lt-Col Owen Armbuster, from Texas, an Air Force pilot who flew a B-26 Bomber on combat missions in Korea in 1953, and Mr Pete W. Taylor Jr, a lay leader from the United Methodist Church's California-Nevada Annual Conference, who fought the battles close to what is now the DMZ from 1952 to 1953.
It was a time of reminiscing for all of them.
While the worshippers at the park in Imjingak were praying for God's intervention and His grace in resolving the division of Korea, other World Methodist Conference participants were worshipping at various churches in Seoul.
After the Call to Worship, an opening hymn and a prayer at the Imjingak service, Bishop Shin Kyung Ha, President of the Council of Bishops of the Korean Methodist Church (KMC), told the worshippers in his welcome address that he and the KMC were very grateful to Methodists the world over for their concern and prayers for the divided land of Korea.
Bishop Sunday Mbang, the outgoing Chairman of the World Methodist Council, gave the sermon. He called on the congregation and all Methodists to be "agents of reconciliation and love".
A highlight of the service was a worship dance performed by three North Korean refugees, who have since accepted Christ after crossing the border into South Korea.
The service ended with hundreds of balloons of all colours being released by the worshippers for the peace and reunification of the Korean peninsula.
After the service, the worshippers were driven in buses to the observation post overlooking North Korea where a briefing was conducted by a South Korean military personnel.