한국어
글 수 3




Message at Celebration of URI's 5th Anniversary and UN's 60th Anniversary
Date: 2005. 6. 26
Venue: Ambassador Hotel (JangChung dong, Seoul)

This program is one part of United Religions Initiative-Global Council Meeting:
Many Faces and One World: Bridging Chasms That Divide
Living into the Promise of URI (June 26th - July,1)



Warm greeting from my heart!
It is a great honor for me to share a bit of peace works with all of you.
I am afraid that I am not right person to stand here, but unfortunately since no other staff is available from URI-Korea, I humbly forward here to speak.

I am Sung Yong Park, a Methodist minister. My first name came from my father's home address in North Korea (P'yongNam province Sung Chun-Gun Gu Yong-myon Un Jun Ri). He left his home village and moved to the south of the Han River during Korean War. And I was born in boundary area between North and South Korea: Kang Hwa province Yang Sa-myon Chul Got. In my childhood, daily I saw North Korean farmers working in the field over Han River. However, in my village and their village, there are big speakers cursing the other side. Each part broadcast to the other side, "You are a puppet of US imperialists, You are a puppet of Communists, Destroy Communism, Destroy Imperialism." In that time, I never doubt that they are my ENEMY, even though they are Koreans. I was taught in school that they are dangerous, even that they are not human beings. However, As I grew up, I realized that the teaching that the other side is enemy is a big lie. From my experience located in boundary area, I was awakened to look at the Others differently. The Others slowly become the Center of my ethical concern. This is the reason why I engaged in dialogue, starting from ideological Others(reunification movement), including religious Others(interfaith dialogue movement), and reaching to gendered Others and ecological Others(ecofeminism), during my whole academic journey and religious practice.

As a executive member of URI-Korea, I have worked in peace education in UNESCO-related institution from 2002 to last month. It is called Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding. This centre's mission is to implement a culture of peace in Asia-Pacific region. I was charge of civil society network and non-formal education focusing such subjects as peace, human rights, multicultural understanding, and sustainable development in domestic and regional level. And also supported by research fund from government-related research foundation, I, with other fellows, visit conflict zones of Asia such as Philippines, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Indonesia and East Timor for 2 years. We met many peace activists and institute staffs at grass roots level in order to understand conflicts' roots, process and their effort toward peace-building and published a peace study book called "Religious Conflicts in Asia and Peace" this year.

Now I gave up my job in UNESCO-related Centre and I am preparing to establish a alternative educational Centre for peace and sustainable culture. My goal is to coordinate and train peace NGO staffs, Green activists, religious leaders, community organizers and alternative educators. Until now in Korea, peace works are fragmented and issue-fighting oriented. Many peace activists were easily burned out after serious period of peace works. They feel desperation under the consistent challenges of seemingly unbeatable domestic and global problems. I would like to re-energize them with the spirit of resistance and transformation, and to deepen their experiences into Sacred Source. And finally through this center, my vision is to expend the greater community with care and universal responsibility through network.

As a first time of Korean Methodist history, I opened officially a peace education program for 5 weeks supported by Educational Division of Korean Methodist Church just several weeks ago. The second, advanced course will be initiated during Sep. and Oct. Fall. I am also charge of retreat workshop program for about 30 YMCA general sectaries among total 67 YMCA branches in Korea focusing on "Orientation toward Culture of Life and Peace" in next month(July, 7-9). Still we see a little of seeds and sprouts for peace within conservative and capitalist-absorbing context of Korea. However, I hope there is a good hope for the near future, since peace activists gather together and work harder. URI-Korea is one of this hope.

URI-Korea has worked some significant peace programs. Some of them are:
1) peace champaign for new millenium era
2) interfaith dialogue forum and workshop, focusing on peace from different religious tradition
3) interfaith prayer meeting regularly
4) special event for peace and reconciliation in some memorial days
5) visiting some different worship places and sharing of each other's rituals and teaching
I think that the important task of URI-Korea toward next step will be to set up some constant and systematic program in areas of interfaith dialogue on peace, reconciliation and green activism. The target groups will be the Youth and young leaders in religion, civil society and alternative education sectors.

Still most traditional and conservative Christian communities in Korea do not want allow their leaders/peoples to engage in multi-faith dialogue movement. However, the unprecedented challenges from regional and global level such as militarism, capital-oriented globalization, environmental crisis and destruction of human security are now asking for us to work together.

I feel desperately that there is no much time to change our current lifestyle and to save eco-fellows and future generations. Therefore, I confess that now we need planetary practice rather than individual practice or group practice. What I means by planetary practice is that every one gets in to contribute one's own talent, time and effort to save our own true humanity and lifes of eco-fellows, and that it means to connect all human being and eco-fellows toward making one planetary community with trust, compassion and justice. It will be communal/collective practice to weave every one and work together disregard of race, sex, class, age, religion and even species.

As a protestant Christian, personally I have only one Creed and one practice which I learn from Christ by heart. One creed I believe is Incarnation. I interpret this to mean that "the Truth becomes life" not only to Jesus in certain time ago but also to all of us. The Em-body-ment(In-car-nation) of Truth is only what I live by. From this living doctrine, I confess that this is my universal calling that "I have to manifest Truth through whole life of mine." My religious practice comes from this living creed: practice to move from higher to lower. That is practice of the bottom to serve the least, the lost and the last. For the bottom is where they are located and where. This is where Christ live. This is also where I am and where I will go.


Thank you to listen to my personal story.

Peace be with you.
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