The Korean Christian Federation is a state-run umbrella group that is in charge of Christian worship in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).
Unlike in western countries where religious organizations operate independently, in communist states they are usually represented by patriotic groups as was the case in the USSR and today in China, the DPRK, Vietnam, and Laos.
The Korean Christian Federation was originally founded in 1946 by prominent Christians that supported the communist regime of Kim Il Sung that would later become the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).
The first Chairman of the Korean Christian Federation was Kang Ryang-Uk, the cousin of President Kim Il-Sung’s mother Kang Pan-sok, for whom the Chilgol Church is a memorial. Although christening and communism are not always considered the best of bedfellows, up to a third of Christians in the north joined the KCF.
The Korean Christian Federation is considered a lay-organization, and is under close government control. Therefore certain activities, particularly those considered “anti-revolutionary”, are thus forbidden.
Officially, it is one of three recognized Christian organizations in North Korea (the others being Catholic and Russian Orthodox), and acts as a liaison between the government and Protestant worshipers in the country.
The federation oversees North Korea’s two Protestant churches: Bongsu and Chilgol Church, in Pyongyang. It also operates the Pyongyang Theological Seminary, of which very little is known.
Officially the body represents the 10,000, or so Protestant Christians of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The current secretary general of the organization’s central committee is O Kyong-u.
And despite the anti-religion reputation of North Korea, religious freedom is guaranteed by the constitution of the DPRK, and it is indeed possible to visit a church in North Korea, something we did way back 2012.
You will not see Churches on too many of our tours, but it can be arranged for independent travel to North Korea.