Archbishop of Canterbury sends message to 'Towards Peace in Korea' conference

November 15, 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, sent the following message to Towards Peace in Korea (TOPIK), a worldwide Anglican peace conference meeting in Seoul, South Korea.



Dearly beloved brothers and sisters in Christ

Fellow primates, archbishops, bishops

And participants in the Worldwide Anglican Peace Conference in Korea.

Greetings in the name of the Lord.

"How beautiful upon the mounts are the feet of the messenger who announces peace," says the prophet Isaiah. Many of you should have just returned from the area around Mount Guemgang where you have borne a message of peace and of Christian love. I wish that I could have shared with you that experience and am sorry not to be able to join you during the coming days of the Peace Forum in Paju. I am, however, very pleased that the Rt. Rev. Dr. Robin Eames, former Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, has accepted our brother Archbishop Francis Park's generous invitation to act as the President of your conference on my behalf. Lord Eames' international reputation in the field of reconciliation and his wide experience and dedicated service to our Anglican Communion fit him well for this honor. As my Special Envoy he conveys my heart-felt gratitude and congratulations to each one of you for the part you are playing, through participation in the Conference, in supporting and resourcing the painstaking work of building and sustaining peace and promoting reconciliation.

The healing of damaged relationships goes on at many levels. Where war, hostility and separation have occurred it is a process that will take time. It is significant that the leadership of the Conference includes senior representatives from the Anglican churches in Japan, USA, UK and other Commonwealth countries alongside our Korean colleagues -- indicative of a past that needs to be acknowledged and healed. Taking the first steps in the process demands courage. At the political level we are heartened by the movement made in meetings between the leaders of the North and South towards peace and reconciliation on the Korean peninsular and are encouraged by the progress achieved through the Six-Party talks.

Although many Koreans have no memory of a time before the tragic division of the peninsular so man families are still touched by this painful separation. The Korean churches have shared, with most Koreans, the dream of reunification whilst remaining sensitive to those concerns about the huge political, financial and emotional cost involved. This Conference allows the Anglican Communion to demonstrate its solidarity with Korean Christians of all traditions in this deep desire for the day when the people of the peninsula can unite in brotherly love -- enjoying the peace, freedom and prosperity that they so deserve. I thank the Most Rev. Francis Park for his determination to see this Conference to fruition and giving us this opportunity.

The vision of the organizers, to whose tremendous efforts and constancy I pay tribute, is that the sharing of experience between the Anglican Church of Korea and so many of you from all parts of the Communion will create a much deeper awareness of the issues, empowering and encouraging those seeking to overcome the obstacles in the path to peace. By ourselves we shall not be able to deliver this peace nor the reconciliation we so earnestly desire. But the hope and prayer of this Conference should be that, through the Grace of God, our Communion may make a crucial contribution to it.

May the Holy Spirit guide and the Lord richly bless you time together and the inspiration for the future you will carry with you when you part.

+Rowan Cantuar

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