Methodist President urges South Korean government to resume food aid

The Methodist Church in Britain has expressed solidarity withthe people of Korea after Churches distributing food aid werethreatened with legal action by the South Korean government.

Revd Alison Tomlin, President of the Methodist Conference, sent aletter to the President of South Korea today urging the governmentto resume food aid. The Methodist World Mission Fund has issued a£10,000 grant to the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK)in response to the crisis.

The NCCK sent 172 tons of flour to the Korean Christian Federation(KCF) on 18 May through the Amity Foundation, an organisation thatreceives funding from the Methodist Church's World Mission Fund.The flour was sent in response to food shortages in North Koreareported by the World Food Program and the NCCK. The emergencysupply was distributed by the KCF in North Korea to kindergartensin three towns, reaching around 31,400 children. Revd Kang YoungSup, Chairman of the KCF, expressed his thanks and indicated thatanother eight towns were in need. But the South Korean Governmenthas threatened to take the NCCK to court for distributing theemergency supplies via China without its consent.

Steve Pearce, partnership coordinator for Asia and the Pacific,asked people to pray for Korea. "This is a terrible situation," hesaid. "People are starving in North Korea. We urge people to helpsupport the food relief effort through The World Mission Fund andto pray for peace and justice in Korea. The Methodist Church willcontinue its membership of the NCCK partners group and stand insolidarity with its actions."

Revd Heawon Chae, executive coordinator for Peace, Reunificationand Development Cooperation on the Korean peninsula, said: "It tookalmost two months for the Amity Foundation to purchase the flourand transport it in trucks to Shineuijoo, a city at the border. TheKorean government is now very angry at the NCCK's activity and it'sgoing to take this to court as an illegal activity."

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's government ended donationsof food and medicine to the North when he took up office threeyears ago. In a statement, the NCCK affirmed that "Christians inSouth Korea firmly believe that supporting food aid to our brothersand sisters in the North who are faced with starving is to followthe teaching of Jesus Christ."

A prayer for Korea and a copy of the letter sent to the Presidentof South Korea can be found below 

People can donate to the food relief effort in North Korea via theMethodist Church by visiting Just Giving or sending acheque payable to the World Mission Fund to Steve Pearce,Partnership Coordinator for Asia and the Pacific, at MethodistChurch House, 25 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5JR. Postal donationsshould be labelled 'North Korea Appeal'. For further informationvisit methodist.org.ukor contact Steve Pearce on 020 7467 5161.


Prayer for Korea

The Methodist Church in Britain has expressed solidarity withthe people of Korea after Churches distributing food aid werethreatened with legal action by the South Koreangovernment. The Revd Alison Tomlin, Ex President of theMethodist Conference, wrote a letter to the South Koreangovernment, which you can read at the foot of this page.

Please pray:

Each cry of need is heard by you, God of abundant life,

We ask you now to hear our prayer for peace and justice inKorea.

We remember all those in the North for whom shortage of food is anever-present reality.

We pray for change in the hearts of those leaders who address dogmabefore hunger and for strong resolve in the efforts of thecompassionate;

We give thanks for the support and aid offered by churches in theSouth and for the commitment to fair distribution of theChristians in the North.

Bless our efforts to be in solidarity with our brothers and sistersin Korea and help your whole Church to be true and effective as itseeks to do what is right, to love mercy and to walk humblyalongside you, our sustainer, redeemer and friend.

Steve Pearce, June 2011

The Revd Alison Tomlin, now Ex President of the MethodistConference, urges the South Korean government to allow foodaid to reach those in the north of Korea. You can readAlison's letter here.