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Church of the Brethren

Working for Justice in 2012
January 17, 2012

Click here, and take the survey on the focus of the work of Peace Witness Ministries for 2012.

Violence takes many forms: war, crime, oppression, denial of justice, and violation of personhood. The voice of the Church of the Brethren usually has been clear and unequivocal regarding non-participation in war, the most obvious expression of violence in our global community. Often the church has been less clear regarding more subtle expressions of violence, even benefiting from the injustice and violence that others suffer.

Is it not time for us in the church to examine ourselves and our faith and to work forthrightly for liberation, justice, and peace in ways that respect the life and potential of every person and the whole human family?

Is it not time for the church to put its house in order, realizing within itself a closer approximation of justice and nonviolence?

Is it not time for the church (which should be the primary locus of justice and nonviolence) to take a positive stance in support of justice and in opposition to the subtle forms of violence that deny survival for many and quality of life for the majority?

Is it not time for the church to declare itself in support of working non-violently for liberation and justice for persons bound by patterns of colonialism, imperialism, racism, sexism, localism, militarism, and other structures of oppression? – 1977 Annual Conference Statement Justice and Nonviolence

The quote above comes from the Annual Conference statement that is the foundation of so much of the work of Peace Witness Ministries. As we look toward the work for justice that is before the church in 2012, it is time to consider what issues can the Church of the Brethren best bring its voice to – is it issues of creation care, calling for the church and society to live in better relationship with God’s Creation? Is it working to eradicate hunger and poverty – both in our communities and around the world? Is it seeking to reduce military spending, and lessen the impacts and reality of the violence wrought by war in so many places?  Is it engaging the 2012 election process, and making sure issues of justice are highlighted?

Now is your chance to weigh in! Click here, and take the survey on the focus of the work of Peace Witness Ministries for 2012. Weigh in on what issues should be the focus, and in what ways YOU would most like to participate in this work.

2011 saw the Peace Witness Ministries of the Church of the Brethren take life throughout the denomination, bringing witness to our nation and communities. Bringing witness in ways ranging from e-advocacy, to sign on letters, to visits to Washington, DC, to participating in ecumenical working groups, to direct action across the country, Brethren found a variety of ways to participate in Peace Witness Ministries. Thanks for your work – and here is looking forward to much more!

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Church of the Brethren Policy: 1977 Annual Conference Statement, Justice and Nonviolence

Our understanding of the biblical view of justice and peace leads us to affirm these principles:

  • The church in its community life, organization, and worship must show compassion and equal respect for all persons.
  • The church in its concern for all people, the poor, the powerless, the rich, the powerful, is not called to defend the riches of the rich or to preserve the power of the powerful.
  • The church has specific responsibility to defend and respond to the rights and needs of the poor, the disadvantaged, and those with insufficient power to assure their rights.
  • No person is created for poverty, but all are born for a full place at the table of the human family.
  • The church is to witness to the responsibility of the ruling power for the administration of justice by crying but against persons or governments that abuse justice and misuse their power.
  • Government is to rule with justice for every person.
  • Individuals as well as the church must guard against the constant tendency to idealize and to worship (without regard to justice) the social, economic, and political institutions within which any people find themselves.
  • All human systems including the church are fallible and imperfect.
  • These systems must be judged by their fruits; are their programs just?
  • When social structures have ceased to serve their humanitarian purposes, radical non-violent changes are in order.
  • The church, in one aspect of its mission, may be called to participate non-violently in the change process.
  • Hunger, poverty, war, and broken relationships are evidences of sin working in human structures. These point up the need for repentance and restitution for the restoration of justice in the earth.
  • God calls the church to work at restoring justice by a responsible use of its power. We must use means that are compassionate because violence is sin, an abuse of the solidarity of humankind.

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For more information about the witness ministries of the Church of the Brethren, contact Jordan Blevins, Advocacy Officer for the Church of the Brethren:

Jordan Blevins
C/O National Council of Churches
110 Maryland Ave. NE
Suite 108
Washington, DC 20002
jblevins@brethren.org
202-481-6943

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Church of the Brethren Action Alerts are a ministry of the denomination's Global Mission Partnerships and its witness and advocacy office in Washington, D.C., in cooperation with the National Council of Churches. Contact advocacy officer Jordan Blevins at jblevins@brethren.org . Contact Global Mission Partnerships at the Church of the Brethren General Offices, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 or mission@brethren.org .

2011 Church of the Brethren.