A call to prayer as tensions rise between N. Korea and the U.S.

We are grateful to Hannah Heinzekehr, the Executive Director of The Mennonite, Inc. for helping us to amplify the call to pray for peace in the Korean Peninsula. The following article was first posted on The Mennonite blog: https://themennonite.org/call-prayer-tensions-rise-n-korea-u-s/

Photo from Creative Commons/aNdrzej cH. 

Photo from Creative Commons/aNdrzej cH. 

The relationship between the United States and North Korea has been fraught for a long time. That’s likely an understatement. But over the course of the last weeks and months, we have seen those tensions escalate. If you’ve been following the news over the last two days, you’ve likely seen a back-and-forth war of words brewing between the leaders of these two countries as news broke that suggests North Korea may have the capability to create missile-ready nuclear weapons that could reach the United States.

North Korea’s state-run media have announced that it is carefully considering plans to potentially strike the U.S. territory of Guam, and U.S. President Donald Trump has stated that North Korea should expect to be met with “fire and the fury like the world has never seen” if it attempts any aggressive action.

Yesterday, after the speech by Donald Trump, Hyun and Sue Hur, leaders from ReconciliAsian, an organization committed to Anabaptist peacebuilding in Asian-American contexts and on the Korean Peninsula, wrote: “Friends, no matter where you stand regarding North Korea, we must not respond with ‘fire and fury like the world has never seen.’ Even without nuclear weapons, over 11 million people in both North and South Korea will die within hours if there are missile strikes. Please take a moment to pray for the Korean Peninsula. Pray also for the leaders of North Korea and the U.S. that they would take the path of peace, not annihilation.”

As the drumbeats and voices calling for war grow, we at The Mennonite want to join the call for prayer. There are so many situations around the world right now that draw our attention and call for our prayers. Please feel free to use this invitation and these words as a guide and to adapt as needed in your communities and during your own prayer time.

A prayer for peace

They have treated the wound of my people carelessly,
    saying, “Peace, peace,”
    when there is no peace.–Jeremiah 6:14

Creator and Bringer of Life, we come before you scared, unsure, anxious and needing your presence with us. Everywhere we look, the trappings of your peace may seem far from view.

We pray for leaders around the world, especially in the United States and North Korea, as they are tempted to seek solutions to conflicts through “fire and fury” and as their words inch us closer and closer to mutual destruction. We pray for the vulnerable individuals who find themselves situated squarely in the middle of these escalating conflicts.

(Leave space for silence or for individuals to offer free prayers.)

We pray for the people and places closer to home where we see the effects of our collective brokenness.

(Leave space for silence or for individuals to offer free prayers.)

We repent for the places and times when we have been complicit in the buildup of a culture that trusts military might above all and that has built a for-profit industry out of making war.

(Leave space for silence or for individuals to offer free prayers.)

Give us eyes to see the places where you are at work, beckoning us away from violence and toward your peace and healing.

(Leave space for silence or for individuals to offer free prayers.)

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me.–Jeremiah 29:11-13a

For additional updates about the developing situation, follow ReconciliAsian on Facebook.

Written by Hannah Heinzekehr, in consultation with Hyun and Sue Hur and Gordon Houser. 

 

"Remem-bearing" and Renewal: Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Uprising/Riot

On April 7-8, 2017, the Angeleno community gathered to "remem-bear" the 1992 Los Angeles Uprising/Riot. We gathered to do our work around history, unresolved trauma, and how it impacts justice issues today. 

Friday evening centered around the stories of Korean Americans and how "Saigu" (4.29-the date when the verdict for Rodney King's trial came out) traumatized this immigrant community. Many businesses were targeted and looted incurring 50% of the one billion dollar property damage.

Dr. Young Lee-Hertig of Innovative Space for Asian American Christianity (ISAAC) gave her account of what she experienced during the Uprising/Riot that propelled her to create a third space to intersect racism and sexism in the Christian community.

Like Dr. Lee-Hertig, the Uprising/Riot for 1.5 and second generation Korean Americans  was a wake up call that we needed to prioritize engaging in our local communities. This unrest instilled in a generation of Korean-Americans, the importance of engaging with civic organizations, being activists, about caring for all members of the community to fight racism and economic inequality. 

Sula Kim of WDSU in New Orleans grew up in Los Angeles and vividly recounted the 1992 Uprising/Riot as a pivotal moment in her life that drew her into journalism and cover stories of injustices in the community (video edited by Hansoo Kim)

Mrs. Sukja Kim recalled how her business was looted but in looking back recognized that "we" included only other Koreans and challenged us to expand our understanding of "we." (video edited by Hansoo Kim)

Context of 1992"Social, Historical and Theological Themes" - Ched Myers

What is "remem-bearing?: Trauma and Response-ability" by Elaine Enns

On the second day of the forum, we had two powerful panel discussions. In the morning, Art Cribbs (Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity), Michael Mata (Azusa Pacific University), Daniel S.H. Lee (Lee & Oh), and Leonardo Vilchis (Union de Vecinos) gave powerful and deeply insightful perspectives that were both personal and historical. 

Morning Panelists: Remem-bearing 1992 - Art Cribbs, Michael Mata, Daniel Lee, and Leonardo Vilchis (Video by Kang Soo Yu) 

The panel session was followed by workshops:

  • Faith-focused organizing (Art Cribbs)
  • Koreatown from 1990-2015: What does statistics tell us? (Soyeon Choi, Junghyun Choi, Cheolho Lee)
  • Social investment and community building in an age of gentrification (Leonardo Vilchis)
  • Women doing justice (Elaine Enns, Grecia Reyes, Elizabeth Leu, Sue Park-Hur)
  • Organizing urban communities for transformation(Michael Mata)

These workshops helped us to dig deeper into the roots of the Uprising/Riot and find ways to connect with each other for the future.

In the afternoon, we had a panel of young adult community leaders, Hyung-In Kim (Fuller Seminary), Grecia Lopez-Reyes (CLUE), Jason Chu (Jason Chu Music), Elizabeth Leu (DOOR LA). They were not living in Los Angeles during the 1992 Uprising/Riot but we asked them where they saw hope as they work in the city and what they envision for the future.

Closing panelists: “Where is the hope?” Hyung-In Kim, Grecia Reyes, Jason Chu and Elizabeth Leu (video by Kangsoo Yu)

Special performances by Jason Chu and Derek Brown (video by Kangsoo Yu)

Special performance by Zehnders (video by Kangsoo Yu)

Collaborative closing worship (video by Kangsoo Yu)

Special thanks

We wanted to thank many volunteers who made this forum possible and so meaningful.

Hospitality and food: Clara Kong, Jeehye Kim, Katelynn Williams

Registration/administration: Lindsay Airey, Tom Airey, Chris Wight
Programming and technical sound: Kyoungseok Oh
Photos and video: Kangsoo Yu and Chris Wight

And finally to Ched Myers and Elaine Enns of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries for their incredible partnership and wisdom