Weekend in Seoul

We spent the weekend in Seoul, hosted by Korean Quakers.    We traveled by train - three hours at speeds up to 300 km per hour - but you wouldn't think it because the ride was so smooth.   We were met at the train station by taken for a Korean lunch.  Then we visited two palaces of dynasties aroun 1300 and 1400, had Korean tea in a teashop in the old part of Seoul, visited a Buddhist Temple which was packed with folks coming for evening worship and people in the courtyard where there were hundreds for pots of chrysanthemums - Korea's national flower - to remember those who had died.   There were also flower sculptures including an elephant covered in flowers.  We then went to an old - hundered years old - restaurant in the old town for a Korean Banquet with about 15 Korean Friends.    We were served course after course of great Korean food - and drink - rice wine and plum tea.     On Sunday we went to Meeting for Worship with Korean Friends.   We shared stories about our work and our concerns.   For the Koreans, two of their main concerns are the unification of their country - north and south; and the building of a US navel base on an island off the Korean coast.    I don't know how we can help them.

The business sessions of the WCC have begun in earnest now - reviewing slates of nominees for election to what is called the central committee which meets in between international assemblies; statements on various issues including unity, refugees, peace and unity among the various churches.    There is an amazing amount of activity and workshops on every social justice issue you can think of.  I played hookey this afternoon and went a walk along the beach and paddled in the ocean.   

 

Some of the people I have met include a young man from Angola who is doing his PhD on ethics and the food industry.   I hope to keep in touch with him.   That is one of the great things about being here - meeting people from all around the world who are concerned about peace and justice.