Report on the Korean World Council
It was a great privilege for me as senior delegate, to represent the Girls’ Friendly Society in Ireland, at the 19th G.F.S. World Council, which was held from 7th-18th August in Seoul, South Korea. The G.F.S. World President, Mrs Ruth Choi, a gentle and charming lady, chaired the meetings. The event brought together delegates and observers from 17 countries, resulting in an attendance of well over two hundred people
Sharing fellowship and worshipping together was a truly wonderful experience.
The G.F.S. in S. Korea was founded in 1965, having been elected as a target country of the G.F.S. World Project that year. As a result, the first branch was organised in Seoul Cathedral Church in September 1965, unfortunately they experienced many difficulties in trying to establish their identity, and needless to say they took on a mammoth task in hosting a world event. “They excelled” far beyond any expectations and have invigorated the G.F.S. in their country. At present, they have 400 members, spread across 17 branches. In a message of welcome from The Primate of the Anglican Church in Korea, The Most Revd Francis Park, he said -I believe the reason that G.F.S. Korea was able to host the World Council, despite its small size was because of its resolute faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
How blessed I was, to have the support and companionship of Isla Poyntz, Junior Delegate, and the other members from Ireland who travelled as observers.
The accommodation for the duration of our visit was at the Olympic Parktel, situated in Olympic Park, an area covering 1.4 millions sq metres built to commemorate the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. The park contains 200 world famous sculptures and other art exhibits and is one of the top five most renowned sculpture parks in the world.
The theme “Harmony Hope in Serving” was the underpinning focus throughout the conference. The business sessions were well timetabled: all delegates were encouraged to participate in the discussions and deliberation. We were met with a variety of experiences, as we communicated and listened to valuable lessons from one another. In choosing the theme, the Korean G.F.S. had been considering the role and identity of G.F.S. in this changing society; In what way is God asking us to fulfil our Motto “Bear ye one another’s burdens” by sharing, encouraging and supporting the G.F.S. mission and ministry around the world. There is no doubt that Mrs Choi and the members of G.F.S. in Korea are endeavouring to do all in their power to fulfil the true meaning of our motto, their outreach and actions to help women who are enduring hardship, victims of violence and other areas of adversity are quite remarkable.