Dear readers,

By the time you read these lines, Christian Hohmann will have already left the Church & Peace International Office as announced in the last issue of the newsletter and I will have taken over at his desk... We are grateful to Christian for his work and commitment during his four years with our association. Our collaboration during these four years was positive in many aspects. The efficiency of Christian’s work together with staff members Terri Miller, Birgit Dobrinski and Blaise Amstutz will not have escaped the notice of those who attended the symposium at the Bienenberg in 1999, for example. As Church & Peace chairperson I was particularly grateful to have in Christian a staff member who was committed to his work and cordial to others even in the midst of conflict... We wish him God’s blessing for the tasks which await him in the Koblenz Protestant church district and we hope to remain in touch with him in the years to come...

A new team needs to be formed, with the ever-present challenge of resolving that which is and will remain a sort of “squaring of the circle”: to guarantee high-quality work with very modest means... Time and financial concerns prohibited us from initiating an extensive search for a successor for Christian, but I responded “yes” to the proposal from certain members of the network that I assume the functions of general secretary on a half-time basis for at least an interim period. Thus, the chairing of the Administrative Committee will need to be entrusted to one of the new committee members elected at the last Annual General Meeting (AGM)...

In observing developments in the international office since this last AGM, it seems to me that certain phrases from discussions during this meeting are in the process of becoming reality: Church & Peace needs to agree to a phase of “letting the earth lie fallow”, not in the sense of stopping our activities but rather in the sense of listening attentively to that which the Spirit wants to tell us in our poverty, the emphases God wants to see us choose for our work in the future. The newsletter you are holding right now contains several impulses from regions of the world outside of Europe which should be an enormous encouragement for us at this crucial moment in our network’s existence: for example, the call from our sister organization New Call to Peacemaking to proclaim all churches “Peace Churches”; the reflections of our Columbian Mennonite brothers and sisters on the churches’ work with persons who are victims of war and on “sanctuaries of peace”, a strong reminder of our vision and our experience of the community committed to following the Prince of Peace; the recounting of the manner in which the Mennonite and Quaker churches in the Great Lakes Region in Africa became increasingly aware of their responsibility as peacemakers in a particularly delicate context. The Columbian and African brothers and sisters mentioned in these articles work in material conditions much more precarious than ours but they trust in the richness of the Kingdom and the richness of the life of the Church when its members together begin to resolutely follow Jesus Christ.

As for me, I would like to take these different appeals and stories seriously, to count on the wealth of the message entrusted to us and not to bemoan the poverty of our resources... And I admit that my wish for each reader is that he or she will allow himself or herself to be “contaminated” by the spirit of these appeals and these accounts. Happy reading!

Yours,

Marie-Noëlle von der Recke

PS: We would look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming regional meetings!

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There is life!

African Peace Churches in the Great Lakes Region Formulate their Commitment to Peace

Bridget Butt

“There is life!” In a context of civil war and genocide, this was the message of a Congolese Quaker pastor during a consultation of Quaker and Mennonite churches of Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in August 1999. The meeting brought together the Historic Peace Churches of the region, those Protestant churches claiming a history and theology of nonviolence.

The meeting took place in Bujumbura, Burundi. Burundi, together with Rwanda and the DRC is part of what is known as the Great Lakes Region of Africa. Violence in the guise of ethnic strife and civil war has claimed close to 1.5 million lives in the region over the past decade. And yet, Pastor Mkoko Boseka would like Christians throughout the world to know that “there is life”. Acts 20:7-12 tells the story of a young man, Eutychus, who is overcome by drowsiness while listening to a lengthy sermon and falls from a third -story window to the ground. All present believe him to be dead, but Paul of Tarsus takes Eutychus into his arms and says, “Do not be alarmed. There is still life in him.” For Pastor Mkoko and all of the peace church leaders present at the August 1999 meeting, the story of Eutychus is more than another literary work; it is a real story of their own daily experience of violence, and the life that breathes on, though the figure be the distorted figure of death.

The mission projects, which planted the peace churches of Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), understood the nonviolent tradition of these churches as bring implicit in the Christian Gospel of love. As a result, little explicit emphasis was placed on traditions such as conscientious objection, war tax resistance or the refusal to bear arms. Faced with the recent scourge of violence, these churches, under African leadership, are now choosing to reclaim the heritage of nonviolence that links them to Quaker and Mennonite brothers and sisters around the world and through the centuries.

In response to the introduction of a program of compulsory civic service including military training in Burundi, mandatory participation in armed neighborhood night watches in Rwanda and a national call in the DRC to defend the country from foreign invaders, a request was put forward for a forum for further reflection and consultation regarding what it meant to be a peace church in these contexts.

The meeting took place from August 17 to 21, 1999. Thirteen Mennonite and Quaker leaders participated from Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC. Guests included Mennonites and Quakers from Colombia and Guatemala as well as representatives from Quaker and Mennonite service agencies and members of the African Great Lakes Initiative, a Quaker peace team.

Participants to the meeting were particularly inspired by the presence of the three Latin American guests, Edgar Madrid, a Guatemalan Quaker, and Peter Stucky and Ricardo Esquivia, representing the Mennonite Church in Colombia. Esquivia, a human rights lawyer, and Stucky, a pastor, founded the Justapaz Center in Bogota, Colombia. They described their ten year struggle to achieve exemption from military service for conscientious objectors in Colombia and their related legal battle to prevent the closure the Mennonite seminary in Bogota by Colombian government.

According to Esquivia and Stucky, the peaceful and just Kingdom of God offers new ways and a new model for a searching world. The Colombian experience demonstrates that, with local and international solidarity, God can use a very small group of people to make a remarkable difference. However, this requires considerable personal sacrifice, over an extended period of time, for true, far-reaching transformation. Stucky and Esquivia encouraged the African participants with the observation that when a small group of believers acts with conviction, and demonstrates that “there is life”, support will be forthcoming.

Colombian and African participants noted with surprise, that despite the ethnic dimensions of the Great Lakes conflicts, socio-economic and socio-political analysis reveals a greater degree of similarity between the conflict systems than they had previously assumed.

In contrast with the Colombian Mennonites, the African peace churches have not, however, chosen to become politically involved. Emphasis has remained on preaching, acts of love, forgiveness and holiness of life as acts of peacebuilding. The question was raised as to whether the churches should be more politically involved. According to Ricardo Esquivia, it is impossible to live without being political. Jesus himself modeled public confession as an appropriate response to sin and evil. Ricardo defined politics as nothing more than "the beautiful art that people have of making their dreams come true".

Mr. Harold Miller of the Mennonite Central Committee reminded the participants that the Mennonite peace position was originally an internal community-defining principle, not a platform from which to oppose war outside the community. What does it mean to refer to the historic peace position in the context of African war-torn societies? Western missionaries brought the Christian Gospel and church doctrine to Africa. Africa, however, has received the Gospel with African eyes and African ears and is currently at an exciting point in history when its people are beginning to interprete in new radical ways what they have heard. As the meditation on Eutychus illustrated, the African religious worldview has, for example, always placed tremendous importance on that which is life-giving. The two-kingdom theology of the Western Reformation, which sees political kingdoms as separate from the spiritual realm, has never been popular in Africa. An African worldview sees God as pleased to reconcile all things to God‘s self, whether on earth or in heaven (Colossians 1:20). African peace churches seek to resist war by promoting life in all of its fullness.

Inspired by these reflections, participants spent the last day of the Consultation drafting a declaration of their commitment to conscientious objection to military service and war. They also declared their commitment to peace and the promotion of a culture of peace and nonviolence in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. This included the creation of a corps of conscientious objectors, as well as commitment to further work in peace education and the development of peace curriculum for schools. A permanent consultative structure was also created and named, the Consultative Council for Peace in the Great Lakes (CCPGL). A second Consultation took place in Nairobi, Kenya, in March 2000 (documentation in progress).

There is life. In a new era of conversation with the African church, it is exciting to anticipate how African peace churches will articulate and model pacifism and nonviolence in the 21st century.

For a copy of the Declaration of the Historic Peace Churches of the Great Lakes Region of Africa in English or French, please e-mail Bridget Butt at « [email protected] ».

Excerpts of an article in Peace News, March-May 2000 (subscription in Britain: £ 10 per year, outside Britain: £ 15 per year). Reprinted by permission of the author

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Sanctuaries of Peace - A Colombian Mennonite Vision for Peace

by Jenny Neme and Peter Stucky

Introduction

In observing our country's current sociopolitical situation, we believe that the churches with an Anabaptist tradition have an important role and message to bring to this difficult reality of conflict that exists on different levels of [the Colombian] society. Through fully living out the saving good news of Jesus Christ, we seek to develop a practical proposal and assume a clear nonviolent stance.

The church seeks to present a Christian alternative to violence, not through a heroic life only suitable for strong men and women, but rather as a community of brothers and sisters that give testimony to the Lord whose Spirit lives among them through their shared life, forgiveness, reconciliation, fraternal admonishment, and joyful willingness to share each other's burdens. It is a community where everyone offers their lives for the others (1 John 3:16).

We envision churches that become Sanctuaries of Peace. This alternative means presenting Jesus Christ as mediator for new agreements [among Colombians], and offering ourselves as servants, putting to use the gifts, talents, and ministries that we have inherited from our ancestors in the faith.

Justification

The roots of the current cycle of violence and war in Colombia began to surface approximately 50 years ago. Although the dynamics of the conflict have changed over time, our country continually falls into this vicious cycle of violence. The end result of the problems found in the different areas of the national system is seen through the collapse of current everyday living conditions in our country.

Presently civil society (the unarmed population) brings life to different processes in search of peace and those who are working among these civil society efforts have made some advances. Although some representatives of the Mennonite Church actively accompany this process, we challenge congregations to take on collective actions in response to the general needs created by the war, and to build the peace of God's kingdom.

We believe that a collective proposal for peace from the Mennonite Church and other Anabaptist churches should arise out of a deep commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ, and take into account the following points:

1. Reflection on the history of violence--an analysis of the specific experiences of Mennonite and Anabaptist congregations that have had to offer advice, alternatives or solutions to problems of violence.

2. Discernment regarding the response to difficult situations--how can we make the peacemaking gospel of Jesus practical and real?

3. An analysis of experiences where peace becomes a possible response to war.

Why is it the church's duty to respond to the current situation?

Christ sends out the church as the Father sent him. We remember that in Jesus the Word of God became human and "lived among us" (John 1:1-14), and in him we live out the glory of God, full of love and truth. We identify ourselves with the real world situation in Jesus Christ and suffer all the pain of this humanity without embracing the sin (Hebrews 4:15).

In this sense, if Christ was sent by the Father to forgive, redeem and reconcile humanity, the church has the same role to play among women and men. The teachings of the gospel of Jesus call men and women to follow him and live out a Christian life alternative, which is a community of shalom. As John Driver would say, the faith community's concrete way of living already anticipates the Kingdom of God, looking toward the day when it will fully arrive.

Based on the Anabaptist vision, the church "should not be known by God alone, but should also be evident to any human observer. This church should be recognized for its repentance, rebirth and the new life of its members" (Arnold Snyder, "Semillas de Anabautismo, crecimiento mundial,” in Correo, the Spanish-language publication of the Mennonite World Conference). This call to be like a city upon a mountain is an invitation for the church to be light, a sign and a refuge for many, especially in the middle of conflict (Matthew 5:14, Philippines 2:15, Isaiah 49:6).

What Is a Sanctuary of Peace?

It is a people. It is a people that continually meets together to pray, discern, and seek God's direction.

It is a people full of the Holy Spirit that embraces human beings affected by the material and spiritual war raging around them. It receives them and affirms them as persons in the peacemaking gospel of Jesus Christ. This ministry becomes not only light and hope for many people under darkness, but also a clear step forward in living out reconciliation with God, with ourselves, and with our neighbor.

It is a people where every person's inherent value, talents, gifts, and ministries are rescued and discovered in order to serve God and all Colombians. In this way we reproduce Jesus’ mission to "seek and save what has been lost.”

It is a people that models shalom, God's integral salvation. It seeks personal, family, spiritual, and social recuperation not only affirming the dignity and life of people in our society, but also building upon a nonviolent way of life through our everyday interpersonal and national relationships.

It is also a proposal:

• The Sanctuaries of Peace will offer a clear message of nonviolence, peacebuilding, justice, and human rights along with discernment and a call for repentance.

• It is a nonviolent proposal for dealing with conflicts: It will give training in the nonviolent prevention, resolution, and transformation of conflicts. It will promote alternatives to the obligatory military requirement. It will seek growth toward a pacific, reconciled life within the family, the neighborhood, the church, and the workplace.

• The proposal grows out of reflections on the future that we want to build, the vision of the country that we want for our sons, daughters, and grandchildren, responding to the realities of impunity, the need for forgiveness and reconciliation, and mechanisms for rebuilding a social tapestry in our country.

It is an actual space:

• It is a physical space or territory for peace that has been publicly announced as such and demands respect for this status against all forceful violation.

• A Sanctuary of Peace is a space where face-to-face encounters between opponents can take place, where forums, discussion groups, planning sessions, and other activities for justice, peace, and the well-being of all can be held, and where the secular community can participate and feel safe.

• It is a refuge for people persecuted for their convictions or directly affected by the violence or injustice. It is a place of protection within the wings of the faith community.

Article compiled by Jenny Neme and Peter Stucky as a result of workshops held with pastors, church leaders and youth from Mennonite, Mennonite Brethren and Brethren in Christ congregations in Colombia. Neme and Stucky are coordinators of the Construction of Peace in Churches and the Community at JustaPaz.

MCC Peace Office Newsletter, April-June 2000

Reprinted by permission

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“Every church is called to be a peace church”

New Call to Peacemaking launches program challenging the churches to be peace churches

At its May 20 meeting in Akron, Pennsylvania, USA, the Steering Committee of New Call to Peacemaking moved forward with preparations for a new program entitled “Every Church is a Peace Church?”. This initiative of the historic peace churches (Church of the Brethren, Mennonites and Quakers) has as its goal of challenging the churches to embrace Jesus’ way of nonviolent resistance to evil.

“Peacemaking is not the special task of a few denominations,” said steering committee member Dale Brown of the Church of the Brethren. “This is not ‘our thing’ any more than the Eucharist belongs to Catholics or baptism to Baptists. Every church is called to be a peace church. The church, as the body of Christ in the world, is a presence which gets in the way of oppressive power, but it does so with the power of nonviolence, as Jesus did.”

The intent of “Every Church a Peace Church?” (ECPC) is to promote a dynamic conversation among Christians of different denominations and traditions on the question of how Christ calls members of his church to live. It is a direct challenge to “peace church” people to talk with other Christians, with the wider Christian community, in a creative and courageous manner about questions of violence and nonviolence, war and peace, power and privilege. Jesus asked, “Is it lawful to save life or to kill?” (Mark 3). ECPC will ask, “How does your church answer this question?”

“The power of nonviolent love is the best-kept secret of the church,” said John Stoner, part-time coordinator of New Call to Peacemaking. “Every Church a Peace Church?” suggests that when Jesus said ‘blessed are the peacemakers’ he was describing an essential characteristic of the church.”

Steering committee member John Jackman expressed the belief that “Every Church a Peace Church?” could become a movement affecting the church around the world. "There is everything right about challenging Christians of all denominations to take a fresh look at the model and teaching of Jesus," he said. "The Christian church is a sort of sleeping giant when it comes to the problem of violence."

For discussion group materials or more information about the “Every Church is a Peace Church?” program, write to « [email protected] » or John Stoner at New Call to Peacemaking, PO Box 500, Akron PA 17501, USA,Tel/Fax: +1 717 859 1958, Email: [email protected]

http://members.xoom.com/churchpeace/

New Call to Peacemaking was founded in 1975 by the historic peace churches in North America to strengthen their congregations in the path of nonviolent discipleship, resisting militarism and building the institutions of peace.

Call to Peacemaking, June 2000; trm

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Growing awareness of peace issues in the churches

The United Reformed Church in Britain has just started a Peace Fellowship. The Fellowship is not a specifically pacifist organisation, which enables members to discuss the vital and urgent issues of conflict in the world from a wide variety of starting points. The URC Peace Fellowship hopes that its church’s tradition of liberal theology will help to bypass labels and get to grips with the real issues.

URC Peace Fellowship has issued a Press Statement deploring the British role in US Star Wars Shield and is planning the Fellowship’s first Annual Conference on November 4th at Regents Square Church, London. Elizabeth Salter, Convenor of the Churches’ Peace Forum, will speak. For more information contact Hazel Barkham The Croft, North Road, Mere, Wiltshire BA12 6HQ, UK.

ploughshare, Summer 2000

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The Bread of Life

Bonnie Klassen

The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked through the dough.

I stood in the kitchen kneading bread, staring out the window. The dough seems like so little. I hardly had enough yeast to make it grow. So many people need this bread. . . .

Every day at work I hear their stories, stories of displaced lives. Looking upward to the sign above the office, JUSTAPAZ, they arrive in clans, seeking precisely what the sign says--justice and peace.

At one time in their collective memory they did not worry about what they would eat, or what they would wear. Although they did not have much, it was enough, and so they did not fear for the future of their children like they do now.

Yet over time the violence began to devour all that they had. Their plot of land was small, but worth blood in the eyes of megaproject developers who would do anything to squeeze them off their farm. Life turned into a daily struggle, as the economic market offered less and less for their crops. Local buyers talked about international competition, taxes and tariffs, but the explanations mattered little. All they knew was that the pesos in their pocket weighed almost nothing.

Eventually, men with guns began to arrive. Paramilitary groups. Guerrilla fronts. Military battalions. The armed men all looked the same, with expressions menacing death. If they did not get off the land, they would be killed. Dead neighbors convinced them that the threats were serious.

And so they fled their homes, with the sound of gunshots ringing behind them. A new oil pipeline will soon run through their land. Now that the armed conflict has consumed all signs of life and peace there, they can not return in any case. Hopefully the price of oil will rise; here they are paying for it with their lives.

I continued to knead the bread, worried about how it would feed so many, but with nothing more to offer. Mixing the yeast with the flour, I prayed that it would be active yeast, causing growth, providing hope, showing love.

All around I see their faces. Desplazados--people who have fled from their homes to escape the war and the economic violence. The energy and resources that I can offer do so little to answer their enormous needs. For a long time, few people responded by helping. Fear kept churches from identifying with and standing beside the desplazados. "They must be bad. They must have done something wrong. They must be guerrillas. Why else would they have been forced off their land? They are not telling the truth." Any number of excuses left the churches still and quiet. Not at all like yeast.

Alone in the kitchen, I kept checking the dough. Nothing seemed to happen. It is so hard to have faith when growth happens so slowly.

Slowly, new people began to sense the pain around them and grow in compassion. Their actions encouraged other people from the churches to wake up and respond as well, multiplying the hands held out in solidarity. Shelters are opened. Clothes, food, and medicines are collected. Land is bought. As Jesus’ disciples, people stand beside the victims of violence, offering physical, psychological and spiritual company as the desplazados build new lives for themselves. The workers are few, but at least they have begun to move and act. First in one city . . . then three . . . now in 17 cities . . . slowly. As the churches share their compassion, the vision grows, the resources multiply, the love is purified.

Now that I see the dough expanding, I shape the bread and place it in the oven. The test will come by fire. I begin to wonder what good it will do.

Flor came to Bogota with her three daughters and the clothes on their backs. Her husband had been “disappeared” two years before. Although the paramilitaries had not physically killed them, life became death. Death of culture. Death of community. Death of dignity. Death of possibilities.

They had been forced to leave behind their possessions, but also their entire way of life. The cement jungle would not provide for their needs like the land and the rainforest had. They no longer greeted their neighbors as “uncle” and “aunt.” Instead, their neighbors looked at their black faces with scorn, prejudice and rejection. All the doors had been slammed shut and the foundation of their lives had fallen away.

Several months later, Flor obtained money from a church to buy a small baker's oven. Like she had done all of her life, she could once again make bread to sell. The "bread" she had received multiplied into many loaves, providing a source of subsistence for her family.

Despite this answer to Flor's prayers, my mind still struggles to untangle many questions. Nothing will give them back all that they have lost. Nothing the church has done will meet the demands of justice. Nothing can remove the scars. The church has not become a savior. Yet it can always break the bread it has and share. In this communion, we will find the miracle of redemption and reconciliation where love and faithfulness meet together, where righteousness and peace kiss (Psalm 84:10).

Setting aside my questions, I look at Flor's face. She too has questions, but I can see a change in her expression. Her eyes no longer gaze down with desperation. Although her family still suffers, life has become possible once again. As I watch her work, watch her smile, I see what resurrection looks like.

My bread is to do the will of him who sent me to finish his work.

We, the church, are called to yeast and to heat God's bread. What is God's will but to bind up the broken-hearted and proclaim, with words and with actions, freedom to the captives who live under darkness and injustice. We are all yeast in the same bread, and so we need to join together in vision and in deeds. Though the yeast may seem little, if we continue to mix it into all the dough, we can count on the power of rebirth and believe that the kingdom of heaven is near and growing.

Bonnie Klassen works as a Mennonite volunteer in the Justice and Peace Office (JustaPaz) of the Mennonite Church of Colombia.

MCC Peace Office Newsletter, April-June 2000

Reprinted by permission

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NEWS FROM THE NETWORK

After the catastrophe...

Church and Peace writes to the Enschede Vredeskerk

Christian Hohmann and Angela Rochner

In mid-May a devastating fire broke out following an explosion at a fireworks factory located in the middle of a residential area in Enschede, Netherlands, near the German border. 18 people were killed and 600 injured. About 2000 people were temporarily homeless; some lost their homes to the fire.

Paul Gentner and Christian Hohmann, Church and Peace Director, each wrote letters to the Dutch Reformed Vredeskerk in Enschede, Church & Peace member since 1996, expressing sorrow over the tragedy and offering emotional support.

In a letter from 25 June 2000, Imke Epema, pastor of the Enschede Vredeskerk, reported that “thankfully no one in the Vredeskerk lost family members or suffered injuries. There were quite a few people who had to evacuate their homes and some of them had to be treated for shock. But all of them were able to return to their homes later. Currently I am working in a neighboring congregation located in the catastrophe area and am hearing many sad stories. The catastrophe will have a long-lasting effect on many people.”

Pastor Epema expressed her gratitude for the tangible concern from Church & Peace regarding the horrible catastrophe. The wounds of such an event will not heal overnight. Imagines of the explosion and the fire will haunt the victims for a long time. For this reason the Dutch Reformed churches in Enschede are in the process of creating a counseling service to be staffed by a local pastor for those persons traumatized by the catastrophe.

A bank account has been established for donations for the counseling service. Pastor Epema thanked Church & Peace for a donation from one of its members. In his letter Paul Gentner offered persons from Enschede needing to rest and to get away from the catastrophe location the possibility of coming for a period of time to the Bannmühle. Imke Epema responded that she had “no specific persons in mind right now whom I would send but it is good to know that such an option exists”.

Trans: TRM

Reconciling Divided Communities

Church and Peace English-speaking regional conference

Stephen Veazey

The 2000 Church and Peace English-speaking regional conference was held at The Ammerdown Centre over the weekend of Pentecost (9-11 June). The theme of the meeting was ‘Reconciling Divided Communities: a practical theology of peace’. Those present heard some excellent material from the three invited speakers with first-hand experience of life in Belfast and Northern Ireland: Revd Johnston McMaster from the Irish School of Ecumenics, Tom Hannon from the Cornerstone Community on the Falls Road, and Brother David Jardine SSF who has served as a prison chaplain at the Crumlin Road jail and is also active in the Church's ministry of healing.

The speakers looked at the subject of Reconciliation from different perspectives. Johnston McMaster's approach was essentially theological and Tom Hannon's social, while David Jardine focussed on penitence, the power of prayer and the centrality of forgiveness. An important feature of this part of the meeting was the consequent discussions and the opportunity for face-to-face meetings with some of the people who are at the sharp edge of events in Northern Ireland.

Church and Peace members were particularly delighted to hear the input from Ellie and Alan Kreider on 'Peace Advocacy - what we have learnt'. Ellie and Alan have now returned to live in the United States and in this valedictory address they were looking back over more than thirty years of involvement in the Christian peace movement in Britain.

On Sunday morning, Gerald Drewett and Sylvie Gudin Poupaert gave an overview of the history and work of Church and Peace International, noting its growth out of initial discussions between members of the historic peace churches after World War II and the pivotal work of Wilfried Warneck which led to the organisation being formally registered in Germany. The theology of Church and Peace is based on the nonviolence of God and this gives a unity over-arching the potential fragmentation reflected in the many denominations of Church and Peace members.

On Saturday evening we enjoyed a cultural interlude from our own resources with songs, readings and reminiscences. And the weekend closed on the Sunday morning with ecumenically based worship in the beautiful little Ammerdown chapel where prayers were said and candles lit for justice, peace and stability in all the troubled areas of the world.

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SERVICE OPPORTUNITY

Pax Christi Germany seeks volunteer

Pax Christi Germany is looking for a volunter for the section’s office - a new venture to promote a volunteer exchange among Pax Christi sections. Applicants should be at least 20 years old, be willing to learn German and have some knowledge of Pax Christi and/or have had previous contact with Pax Christi. Contact Herbert Froehlich, Blumenstrasse 23, D-69115 Heidelberg, Tel: +49 6221 1302218.

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RESOURCES

Becoming a Peace Church

Alan and Eleanor Kreider

Growing out of years of preaching, teaching and discussing, this booklet is a wonderful introduction to what it means to become a church where peace - broadly and biblically understood - is an important part of the identity.

43 pp, £2.50, available from Metanoia Book Service, 14 Shepherds Hill, London N6 5AQ, UK.

The Culture of Peace: A Christian Opportunity

Churches’ Peace Forum (Churches Together in Britain and Ireland)

A booklet introduing the concept of “a culture of peace”, in the context of the UN International Year for the Culture of Peace and the upcoming World Council of Churches Decade to Overcome Violence. As the July issue of the Pax Christi International newsletter noted, “it is realised that peace issues are linked with other Christian concerns, for racial and gender justice, social and economic well-being, and care of the environment. It is hoped that the churches will keep these connections closely in mind as they develop their thinking and actions.”

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CALENDAR

-13-14 October 2000

Being mediators at the dawning of a new century

Mediation symposium organized by the Centre mennonite de Bruxelles

Resource person: John Paul Lederach, mediator and professor at Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Virgina, USA)

Symposium langues: French & English; Location: Eglise Protestante de Botanique, Brussels

Contact: Juan José Romero, rue 112 Franklin, B-1000 Bruxelles. Tel: +32 2 734 81 07, Email: [email protected]

Friday 13 October to Sunday 15 October 2000

Sharing the peace - Corrymeela Link Autumn weekend

Community of Reconciliation, Broomsgrove

This is a weekend to meet and share together, to explore Corrymeela’s response to what is happening in Northern Ireland. The aim is to consider how we can apply what we learn in our local churches and communities. During the weekend the following will be explored: the current situation in Northern Ireland; the role of education in building lasting peace, worship in a Community of Diversity; what we can learn from our own lives, churches and communities. Full details from Corrymeela Link, PO Box 4829, Early, Reading RG6, 1XX, Tel: 0118 926 1062.

Training for Mediation and Facilitation in the Church

6-10 November 2000

Five-day course designed to equip participants with practical skills for responding constructively to conflict, particularly in church settings but with much wider application. The course explores conflict within us, between individuals and within church groups. It is geared to help church leaders and lay people develop the ability to understand conflict and its sources, and learn methods to facilitate its resolution and transformation.

Organized by Bridge Builders (London Mennonite Centre), facilitators: Carolyn Schrock-Shenk, director of Mennonite Conciliation Service, and Alastair Mc Kay, director of Bridge Builders. Contact Bridge Builders, 14 Shepherds Hill, London N6 5AQ, UK.