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NEW INTERNATIONAL INTER-AGENCY WEBSITE FOR NORTH KOREA LAUNCHED

By Dan Wooding

ASSIST News Ministries (02/27/06)

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a British human rights organization specializing in religious freedom, has announced that a new website dedicated to mobilizing and facilitating prayer for North Korea is being launched on Tuesday, February 28.

The website, www.prayfornorthkorea.org, has been launched as part of the Global Week of Prayer for North Korea which will run from June 19-25, 2006. The week is an inter-agency initiative designed to focus the worldwide Church’s attention on the need to pray for the desperate plight of the country’s 22 million people.

“ North Korea has long been shrouded in secrecy, masking it from the interest and prayers of the outside world,” said CSW’s International Advocate, Elizabeth Batha, who has pioneered the Global Week of Prayer, “but in recent years information on the terrible oppression, statewide enforced idolatry and utterly brutal persecution of the Christians has become available to all. The level of brutality and the suppression of the gospel should make this a key prayer focus for the worldwide Church. The Global Week of Prayer for North Korea is a call for all of us to recognize and respond to the seriousness of this situation.”

Numerous resources have been created and made accessible through the website to enable prayer and facilitate the running of meetings. These include a video and self-running PowerPoint presentation, as well as a plethora of written materials to enable even those with no previous knowledge to run a prayer meeting for North Korea .

GLOBAL SCALE

A CSW spokesperson said, “The scale of the Global Week of Prayer for North Korea is reflected in the agencies that are participating, including agencies with millions and tens of millions in their memberships, such as the National Association of Evangelicals (US) and World Assemblies of God. Large Korean church umbrella bodies are also participating. The Human Rights Committee of the Christian Council of Korea , the representative body of the majority of the South Korean Churches, is a participating organization as are the large Korean American Church Coalition and the Korean Church Association in the UK . Other agencies, such as the North Korea Freedom Coalition, Open Doors, and Release International are on board, and media such as God TV and Premier Christian Radio are supporting the Week.

HISTORIC EVENT

“The website is launched to coincide with a historic prayer vigil taking place in Seoul from February 28 to March 1. The organizers, the Korean Church Coalition, are anticipating that the Seoul Wailing Prayer Meeting will be the largest international gathering of Korean and non-Korean pastors worldwide to pray for North Korean freedom. They estimate 5,000 pastors from Korea and 1,000 pastors from elsewhere will be participating with a total attendance of approximately 26,000 believers.” (For more information visit www.kccnk.org).

CSW’s Elizabeth Batha will be addressing the event and encouraging all participants to engage in the Global Week of Prayer for North Korea and to take up the prayer, advocacy and aid dimensions of the week.

GETTING INVOLVED

“Churches and agencies are encouraged to adopt the focus in their meetings and publications during that week, to use the resources in Sunday meetings, to encourage prayer meetings and fellowship meetings to follow the focus and even to organize local or regional meetings with others,” said the CSW spokesperson. “Meetings and peaceful protests are already planned in several major cities across the world, including London, Washington and Seoul.

“Believers are also encouraged to adopt the week of prayer as a focus, to encourage services and meetings to include the focus and to get involved in other ways. Alongside prayer, the Global Week of Prayer for North Korea will carry advocacy and aid dimensions, encouraging believers to use their voices to speak out for those suffering under the dire oppression and to donate to help North Koreans, including those who flee the repression and misery only to encounter further suffering at the hands of the Chinese authorities.”

The website www.prayfornorthkorea.org is designed as a key vehicle to facilitate all these activities.

“We believe North Korea deserves to be high on the worldwide Church’s agenda and that, as awareness rises, believers all over the world will feel moved to pray against this idolatry,” said Elizabeth Batha, “Even the word for God is banned and most Christians have been killed or sent to the gulag. Ninety-nine years ago North Korea was a centre for revival and many of the mega churches in South Korea that are looked to as examples of church growth around the world were planted by those fleeing from North Korea. Now is the time to raise up a concert of prayer that will see that blessing flood back into North Korea. We urge all believers to get on board, to participate in the Week and to visit the new website to see how they can get involved.”