Bid to restore walls at Glendalough Diocese church, a ‘treasure of national and international significance’
The community of Hollywood, Diocese of Glendalough, is uniting for a new project at St Kevin’s church.
The church and churchyard are among the first things visitors to the idyllic village see when they descend from the Wicklow Gap and the local Tidy Towns committee plans to restore the historic churchyard walls of the ancient pilgrim church.
Hollywood Tidy Towns, with the help of Wicklow County Council’s Community, Cultural and Social Development Department, is carrying out the work at the Church of Ireland church as part of their ongoing plan for the village.
KOREAN CHURCHES’ EASTER PRAYER INITIATVE
The National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK), based in Seoul, South Korea, and the Korean Christian Federation (KCF), based in Pyongyang, North Korea, have worked together to prepare the a ‘2017 Easter Joint North-South Prayer’.
The World Council of Churches, which in 2013 held its 10th Assembly in Busan, South Korea, reported: “The prayer expresses the joy of the resurrection and the sorrow of 70 years of separation between South and North Korea … people around the world are encouraged to join in the prayer, which calls for a life of harmony and peace on the Korean peninsula.”
The global ecumenical body said that the prayer reflects the desire among many organisations, including that of the World Council of Churches, for reunification of the Korean peninsula, quoting the prayer’s words: “Help us remember the days when the North and the South once were one, to better live into a world of harmony and peace.”
The Churches’ prayers for peace are very timely, given the rapidly deteriorating geopolitical situation. Last month, North Korea launched four ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan and earlier this month test- fired a medium-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, a move which took place the day before a visit by China’s President Xi Jinping to the US to meet President Donald Trump for talks including how to restrain North Korea’s missile ambitions. Mr Trump was widely quoted beforehand as saying: “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.” North Korea is banned by the UN from any missile or nuclear tests and sanctions have been applied.
In a statement on Korea at its 2013 Busan Assembly, the WCC declared: “The present situation in the Korean peninsula prompts us to a renewed engagement in efforts to work for peace and justice throughout the region and for the reunification of a divided Korea. Despite many positive developments in the world during the post-Cold War era, the North East Asia region still contains the world’s heaviest concentration of military and security threats … The peace we envision is a condition of justice embracing the whole of life and restoring harmony among neighbours. We are convinced that it is the right time to begin a new process towards a comprehensive peace treaty that will replace the 1953 Armistice Agreement and secure just and peaceful relations among nations in the region while normalising relations between North and South, and facilitating Korean reunification.”
Times have moved on and the situation has reached a critical point. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is a highly unpredictable figure and it is clear that he rules the secretive nation with a considerable degree of ruthlessness; he is widely believed to have been behind the recent murder of his 46-year-old half- brother, who had been living under the protection of Beijing in the Chinese territory of Macau, in an attack at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. On 9th April, a US Navy strike group, with the capability to intercept ballistic missiles, was reported as having been ordered to move towards the Korean peninsula, reflecting concerns about North Korea’s intentions. The US Pacific Command described the deployment as “a prudent measure to maintain readiness in the region”.
In such tense circumstances, the call to prayer has added urgency, and it is encouraging that Christians in both North and South Korea have given a lead in issuing their Easter joint-prayer.
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