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Korean-American pastors pray for North Korea and US summit

Posted: June 11 2018 at 02:54 PM
Author: Anne Marie Gerhardt


Update 6/12/18
President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed a document on Tuesday committing to "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula following their historic summit in Singapore. Read the full text.

The Rev. Martin Lee, NIC Director or Congregational Development and Redevelopment said, "I am so thankful for the Christians all over the world praying for peace on the Korean peninsula."

Lee added the agreement is a giant step towards peace for Korea and for the world. "A Korean proverb says 'Can one be full with a single spoonful of food?'  It has a similar meaning to 'Rome was not built in a day'; success does not come overnight. Whatever the circumstances, we must engage in dialogue with a listening heart for others," said Lee.

6/11/18 In anticipation of the historic summit in Singapore between the leaders of North Korea and the U.S., the first for these two countries, Korean-American United Methodists in the Northern Illinois Conference gathered for prayers for peace. 

“Oh God, join our voices and our hearts with people all around the world,” prayed Bishop Dyck. “Be with the leaders of both countries. Be a spirit of peace in those meetings.”

More than a dozen Korean-American pastors and leaders from the Northern Illinois Conference joined Bishop Dyck for the early morning prayer service at First Korean United Methodist Church in Wheeling, Ill. They expressed their hope for a positive outcome from President Trump and Kim Jong-un’s joint meeting on June 12 (Singapore is 13 hours ahead of Chicago's Central Time Zone.) 


“This is truly a day that we call upon world peace. We pray for the people of North and South Korea and that families who have been separated for decades will be unified,” said Bishop Dyck. “We pray that fears and prejudices will break down and there will be a renewed spirit in the country of Korea.”

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who has been working with Bishop Dyck and the NIC’s Director of Congregational Development and Redevelopment Rev. Martin Lee on North Korean justice issues for several months, joined the service echoing the call for a peaceful resolution between North and South Korea and an end to war.

“War is futile,” said Rev. Jackson. “We seek peace and reconciliation today and ask our nation to play a constructive role in that process as a bridge builder and healer. It’s all about North and South Korea reunifying and families reuniting after being divided for so many years.”

Grace Ji-Sun Kim, who was born in South Korea and immigrated to Canada as a young child and then came to the U.S. in 2004, currently teaches theology at Earlham School of Religion. In 2014, she began working with the Rev. Jesse Jackson for the release of Kenneth Bae, a Korean American who was being held prisoner in North Korea.  Today, she says she's hopeful for the 10 million families who remain separated by the Demilitarized Zone at the 38th parallel in Korea. 

"I'm so grateful to God that perhaps through this summit and this time together that God will use us as Korean-Americans to be instruments of peace as we continue to pray," said Kim as she offered prayers during the service. 

Bishop Dyck shared how her parents were married on June 25, 1950, the day the Korean War started and how wonderful it would be if they both could see peace before they’re gone. She said a resolution to the conflict would bring hope to the whole world. 


“If there can be peace in the Korean Peninsula we know there can be peace in any of our places of conflict around the world,” said Bishop Dyck.

Towards the end of the service, the Korean-American leaders led the congregation in traditional and powerful Korean form of prayer called Tongsung Kido, which means “praying out loud" or as Rev. Martin Lee described it “crying out to God.”

To watch a portion of the prayer service visit

Read more on the National Council of Churches of Korea call to prayer on the Korean Peninsula click here.

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