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Building an Ecumenical Peace
The Church of the Brethren has consistently been a witness for peace throughout our history, dating back to 1785. We have also been leaders for peace in the ecumenical
community, providing voice to a sometimes marginalized message. The story goes that at the World Council of Churches (WCC) in the 1940’s, Brother M.R. Zigler, the founder of On Earth Peace, stood up and moved that Christians agree not to kill one another. The motion died for lack of a second. When the WCC declared this decade the Decade to Overcome Violence, the Church of the Brethren was looked to for leadership, and organized with the other historic peace churches regional gatherings around the world.
The Ecumenical Centennial Gathering, hosted by the National Council of Churches and Church World Service, this past week in New Orleans showed the value of that witness. The Governing Board of the National Council of Churches called for an end to the war in Afghanistan, stating,
For an increasing number of Christians, there are no gospel criteria that may adequately justify going to war. Instead, these Christians earnestly seek a just peace that is grounded in the God who loves all creation and all the peoples of the earth, and that seeks the help of the Holy Spirit to love the enemy and friend alike … Therefore calls upon the President of the United States to initiate a withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan to be completed as soon as possible without further endangerment to the lives and welfare of U.S. and NATO troops, Afghan troops and Afghan civilians.
The General Assembly of the NCC and CWS then passed a statement on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), calling “The United States as a whole has the chance to contribute to this global movement by shrinking the largest nuclear arsenal in the world--toward the goal of their total elimination. As the Senate re-convenes following the elections, ratifying the START II treaty must be a top priority. Now is the time to move beyond the Capitol Hill gridlock, and take another step toward a more peaceful world.
It is now time for the Church of the Brethren to add our voices to the voices of the ecumenical community. Click here to call on Congress to end the war in Afghanistan, and here to call on the Senate to ratify the START treaty. Join your voices with the voices of Christians across the country in seeking to build a more peaceful world.
Church of the Brethren Policy:
1970 Annual Conference Statement, Statements of the Church of the Brethren on War reads: The Church of the Brethren, since its beginning in 1708, has repeatedly declared its position against war. Our understanding of the life and the teachings of Christ as revealed in the New Testament led our Annual Conference to state in 1785 that we should not "submit to the higher powers so as to make ourselves their instruments to shed human blood." In 1918 at our Annual Conference we stated that "we believe that war or any participation in war is wrong and incompatible with the spirit, example and teachings of Jesus Christ." Again in 1934 Annual Conference resolved that all war is sin. We, therefore, cannot encourage, engage in, or willingly profit from armed conflict at home or abroad.”
1991 Annual Conference Statement, Peacemaking: The Call of God’s People in History reads: The church and Christians are called by God to witness to the gospel of peace with such intensity that nations repent and history is changed. Less than a radical witness can only lead us to accept idols of materialism, personal and national security at the expense of justice, blind nationalism, the glorification of military strength, and dependence on technological solutions for human problems.
Therefore, the Church of the Brethren shall:
2001 Church of the Brethren General Board statement, “A Resolution on the Events and Aftermath of September 11th, 2001” reads: “We call for the immediate cessation of military action against the nation of Afghanistan. We are deeply concerned that these strikes will cause further death and destruction, and will exacerbate the problems confronting those working to feed and care for millions of suffering Afghan people. We also urge the U.S. government to refrain from similar military strikes against other nations.”
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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:
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 email@example.com . Contact Global Mission Partnerships at the Church of the Brethren General Offices, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
© 2010 Church of the Brethren.