United Methodists pray for Korean hostages|
By United Methodist News Service*
Aug. 2, 2007
United Methodists are offering prayers and expressing concern about the South Korean Christians being held hostage in Afghanistan.
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
The Taliban kidnapped 23 members of a medical volunteer mission trip July 19 in Ghazni province, southwest of the capital city of Kabul. The group's leader, the Rev. Bae Hyung-kyu, was shot to death, and another man, Shim Sung-min, also was executed by the Taliban, which is threatening to kill the remainder of the group unless jailed comrades are released. Eighteen of the Korean Christians being held are women.
The Taliban has said that many of the remaining hostages are sick and two of the women are seriously ill, according to an Aug. 2 report from Reuters.
An Aug. 1 statement from directors and staff of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries offered a "fervent prayer for the safety and quick release" of the hostages.
"We are also remembering the family and the congregation of the Rev. Bae Hyung-kyu, a young Presbyterian pastor from Bundang, who has already been shot by the captors," the statement said.
"We join with Bishop Kyung Ha Shin, the head of the Korean Methodist Church, in urging all Christians to join in this work of prayer as negotiations for the release of the group continues.
"We pray also for the captors, that they will come to understand the futility of their actions in seizing and holding the Koreans. We pray for reconciliation and a solution that respects justice and fosters peace."
United Methodist Bishop Hee-Soo Jung of Chicago sent letters to President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asking for "your committed engagement and employment of diplomatic measures to bring about the safe release of the hostages and a just resolution to this rapidly changing situation."
Jung also forwarded Shin's prayer appeal to church members and the United Methodist Council of Bishops.
Jung said United Methodists are asked to pray for safe release of the hostages, for reconciliation and a just resolution to the situation, for all Volunteer in Mission leaders, and for all Koreans and the Korean Methodist Church.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Board of Global Ministries
Korean Methodist Church