Christian leader has big plans for 2013

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Christian leader has big plans for 2013

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Kim Young-joo

Kim Young-joo, representative of the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK), signaled on Tuesday that the progressive association of Christian churches would reform the way it reacts to social issues.

During a meeting with reporters to celebrate the start of the year, the 61-year-old leader said, “Proactive and swift reaction to what’s going on in society is crucial, but we would rather focus more on coming up with policy-wise alternatives that are more practical and in-depth.”

He added that when the council issues a statement in the near future, it will distinguish itself from civic groups by adding a Christian viewpoint. For instance, when it comes to opposing nuclear energy, it won’t simply argue it does not side with the energy source, he said. Instead, the council will propose alternative plans such as solar energy along with reasons it can be a better option.

“The reform plan is mainly to show that the church prioritizes taking action rather than being merely outspoken about certain issues,” he said.

In a related move, the NCCK has designated 2013 as a year to recover the Korean churches’ calling to work and sacrifice for the public. Also, the council has vowed to tackle chronic and internal problems ranging from father-to-son inheritance of leadership to tax evasion of religious leaders and far-from-transparent financial affairs.

“The Presbyterian Church of Korea, one of three largest Christian bodies in Korea, is currently having detailed discussions on regulating ministers that hand over leadership to their sons,” Kim said.

This year the Christian churches in Korea will hold a large-scale event in October in Busan - the World Council of Churches (WCC), often described as the “UN General Assembly of Christianity.”

“Given that this year marks the 60th year since the Korean Peninsula declared a truce,” he said, “the NCCK will exert an effort to encourage the WCC to adopt an agenda to transform the truce into a peace treaty.”


By Shin Joon-bong [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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