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Religious groups release New Year messages about change

Dec. 29, 2021 - 17:45 By Song Seung-hyun
People gather at the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul on Christmas Day. (Yonhap)
Religious groups in Korea have sent out their New Year messages this week, calling on people to make changes in 2022.

The United Churches of Korea, one of the biggest Protestant church associations in South Korea, said Monday in a statement, “The Korean churches must once again restore the purity of the gospel and be reborn as a community that pursues the value of Jesus’ disciple.”

The UCCK’s message said that the world’s view and evaluation of churches have become more critical and its influence has also decreased, which means it is time to make some changes through the gospel.

Another Protestant church group, the National Council of Churches, also released a message on moving forward to mark the new year.

“Let’s go beyond the political ideology and create a coexistent future by protecting the values of the gospel -- life, peace, and justice,” NCCK said in a statement.

Seoul’s new Roman Catholic archbishop Peter Chung Soon-taick on Tuesday emphasized the importance of making changes in 2022 as well.

“I hope that small changes we make in our lives can come together to make our society brighter next year,” Chung said. “When not only the churches, but also our society and the nation, especially leaders and public officials, take the lead and change, and the public deeply realize change and practice their vocation, our society will become brighter and more hopeful.”

Ven. Jinje of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism also released a similar message to encourage making changes.

The message emphasized that the COVID-19 pandemic is a result of humans recklessly developing and damaging the environment and nature.

“The fundamental solution to this is to change the human attitude toward nature. An attitude of universality in which humans and nature are not two, and humans and nature should coexist,” the message added.