LONDON, England -- The Multi-agency week of prayer for North Korea has been scheduled for June 23-29, 2003, with the main meeting set for the Westminster Chapel in London. The event, jointly initiated by Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Release International, Asialink, South Korean churches in the UK, Open Doors UK and Jubilee Campaign, hopes to raise the general awareness of the needs of North Koreans, and to augment ongoing prayer efforts worldwide.
“We believe North Korea is probably the worst country in which to survive as a Christian. In 24 years in this ministry, the plight facing Christians in North Korea is probably the worst situation I have ever encountered. We call on Christians everywhere to join us in praying urgently for the people of North Korea,” said Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
Throughout the week, conveners will pray over the issues of state enforced idolatry and lack of religious freedom, the persecution of Christians, their torture, imprisonment, forced labor and execution, the famine and humanitarian needs and the situation of refugees in North Korea. Supporters of the effort include political figures Roger Forster, Nicky Gumbel, Gerald Coates, Paul Weaver, Yonggi Cho, Jonathan Aitken, Gary Streeter MP, Alistair Burt MP and David Drew MP.
While the main meeting will be held at the Westminster Chapel on June 28, Glasgow, Swansea, Lisburn, Sutton Coldfield and other cities will concurrently hold complementary assemblies. Church services on Sunday June 29 are strongly encouraged; Prayer meetings and house groups during the week are also urged to focus on and pray for the beleaguered people of North Korea.
“This week of prayer is vital as we turn away from ourselves and our needs to those of others, and particularly the unspeakable persecution of Christian People in North Korea. Gather together to pray in homes and make time if you can in public church meetings,” said Gerald Coates, Team Leader of Pioneer Trust.
Currently, Christians in North Korea are subject to severe torture, imprisonment or execution. Whole families are taken away for imprisonment and hard labor with a view to eliminating the families of undesirable elements of society. Even young children are imprisoned in harsh conditions. Christians in the camps are treated with particular brutality, exposed to ongoing threats and abuse to seek to force them to abandon their faith. Arbitrary killing, torture, sexual abuse and other violence are meted out to prisoners without recourse to justice.
“In more than 60 countries worldwide, Christians are harassed, abused, arrested, tortured or executed specifically because of their faith. North Korea is one such country. Christianity Solidarity Worldwide endeavours to be a voice for these people, and for others who have little or no voice,” said Nicky Gumbel, Alpha Chaplain.
“Prayer does change things, our apathy and lack of involvement doesn’t. We urge every church and Christian to stand with their persecuted brothers and sisters in North Korea. We have assembled material which I believe is some of the most authoritative evidence pointing towards one of the great crimes of our time. The video and PowerPoint presentation will help Christians pray into this complex and seemingly immoveable situation,” said Eddie Lyle, Executive Director of Release International.
By Pauline J.