Mission Stories: Comfort Women (PCK)

by CWM

By Mission Development team

Earlier in the year, an invitation was extended to member churches to share their mission stories as parables of mission in the context of Empire. This was done in the hopes that we could underline the prophetic mission to which we are all called. The Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK) was responded with their mission story as a reflection of what it means to be a prophetic witness to evangelism and Christ in the public square. Their mission story lifts up struggles against injustice for Comfort Women, women drafted into sexual slavery by the Japanese during the Second World War. This mission story as one where protest is part of mission in the context of Empire. It is an account of struggle in the face of injustice and Empire, a parable of determination, dignity and defiance.

In this mission story, we are reminded of the persistent widow of Luke 18. The Halmonis, like the persistent widow, are asserting and insisting that they be heard. With their voices raised, they demand that Empire be ashamed and called to account for the war atrocities and violence committed. In the process announcing for themselves, and all victims of sexual violence that they are beloved. Rev. Han Kuk Yom of the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan reminds us that “when we are able to overcome those unjust things in our society, that’s the only way to transform this society into a more peaceful and just one. It is what Jesus lectured… Blessed are the peacemakers for they are the children of God.”[1]

The Presbyterian Church of Korea invites us to look to the Halmoni to find parables of protest as mission in the context of Empire. Systematic theologian Dr. Chang Yoon Jae reminds us that “we as Christians must keep this memory up. This issue (of the Comfort Women) is not simply about Korean women. Neither is it only about Chinese, Taiwanese women’s issue. This is an issue about war time sexual violence against. Women. It happens everywhere, every day. In the past, nowadays, and unfortunately probably in the future. This is an issue of violence against women, sexual violence against women during war. War is a kind of justification for men to violate women, so this must be stopped[2]. His words resonate in countering the work of Empire as Empire systematically oppresses and shuts many of our sisters and brothers into places of pain and emptiness. It enslaves them through poverty and violence. It excludes them from life, peace and prosperity. The church is called to arise in hope and passion.

The video link is also available here.

[1] Interview on April 25th, 2017 at the headquarters of the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan.

[2] Interview on April 27th, 2017 at Ewhua Woman’s University, Graduate School of Theology where Dr. Chang Yoon Jae is a professor of theology. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church of Korea. In the 2016 Council for World Mission General Assembly, he made a presentation highlight the injustice faced by Comfort Women.

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