K-Pop, companies like LG and Samsung, and the rise of Kimchi-infusion dishes – Korea is making waves in economic and cultural sectors with increasing global recognition. The 10th General Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) sited in Busan in 2013, however, called for a distinct break in the otherwise uniform news cycle – and for good reason. 2015-16 Fulbright Senior Researcher and Underwood Visiting Professor at Yonsei University’s United Graduate School of Theology Dr. Perry Hamalis not only took part in the seminal WCC assembly; he’s here for the year to study the longitudinal impact of the event on Korea’s Orthodox Christian community and presented his preliminary findings at the Fulbright Forum on February 12th, 2016 last week.
Dr. Perry Hamalis is known stateside as the Cecelia Schneller Mueller Professor of Religion at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, and made a splash at the WCC’s General Assembly in Busan as both a delegate and moderator for the organization. As an institution, the WCC has a profound global presence; Established after World War II, the WCC is the world’s most inclusive ecumenical organization with over 345 member churches across 110 nations. The ecumenical goal of the WCC is to promote visible unity and collaboration within and among Christian churches, and including its members and partnership with the Roman Catholic Church, has influence over 75% of the world’s Christian population – about 1.6 billion people.