Interreligious Efforts by Religion and Peace Group Span 20 Years

November 1, 2006

Source: Indian Catholic

SEOUL (UCAN) -- The Korean Conference on Religion and Peace (KCRP) is celebrating two decades of promoting interreligious unity in South Korea.

Around 150 people attended the 20th-anniversary celebration on Oct. 24 at a hotel in downtown Seoul. The conference leaders represent Buddhism, Catholicism, Confucianism, Chondo-gyo, Protestantism, Won Buddhism and an association of indigenous Korean religions. Chondo-gyo and Won Buddhism were founded in Korea.

James Byun Jin-heung, secretary general of the KCRP, told UCA News on Oct. 30 that starting in 1994, during the civilian presidency of Kim Young-sam, the KCRP has provided an effective channel for religious leaders to convey to the government their positions on social issues.

Its other important role, he continued, has been in presenting regular interreligious programs such as a lecture series on the represented religions, visits to shrines connected with them and a youth dialogue camp.

KCRP chairperson Reverend Paik Do-woong said in his anniversary address that the group has overcome initial challenges and continues to seek harmony and cooperation among religions in South Korea's multireligious society. Reverend Paik is secretary general of the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK).

Auxiliary Bishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Kwangju read a congratulatory message from Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, retired archbishop of Seoul, who could not attend because of poor health. Bishop Kim is president of the Committee for Promoting Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue under the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea. Cardinal Kim was a member of the group that helped found the KCRP in 1986.