A young woman lights candles in preparation for a prayer service held in the Saint Stephen Church in Karlsruhe, observed by a group of young people gathered for 'the Ecumenical Youth Gathering' in the lead-up to the World Council of Churches 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany from 31 August to 8 September 2023.


The day is a means of regularly mobilizing the efforts of the international community to promote peace, tolerance, inclusion, understanding, and solidarity.

The WCC reached out to many countries for prayers, and people around the globe joined online. Prayers focused on Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sudan, Colombia, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, South Sudan, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Haiti, Palestine, Israel, and the Korean Peninsula.

Rev. Seoyoung Kim, a member of the WCC central committee, offered a reflection on Seeking Peace and Unity” that emphasized the call to foster harmony where there is discord.

It is about creating spaces where diverse voices can be heard, where differences are not just tolerated but celebrated,” said Kim. I grew up in South Korea, and while the division of the Korean Peninsula in 1945 happened many years before I was born, it is still a stark reminder of the worlds peace deficit.”

Hundreds of thousands of families remain separated or displaced, Kim added.

When I was a child, my friends and I frequently sang together of the hope of reconciliation with North Korea,” Kim said. However, I also experienced constant anxiety and waves of fear that North Korea may launch an attack on South Korea.”

Kim, now a PhD student in the United Kingdom, still experiences this anxiety, and a fear for family and friends who live in South Korea.

This is a common experience for many Koreans,” Kim said. The Korean Peninsula's ongoing division calls for united international efforts towards dialogue, understanding, and ultimately, reconciliation.”

Peace on the Korean Peninsula is a path to peace for our world, concluded Kim. May we be the peacemakers, who work for peace and unity in our world,” Kim said.

"Seeking Peace and Unity", reflection on Matthew 5:1-11 by Rev. Seoyoung Kim

Prayer for Ukraine by bishop Rosemarie Wenner

Prayers on the UN International Day of Living Together in Peace