By Carol Stirling – Boise First UCC
Published on April 11, 2011
On Sunday, 22 May 2011, churches of the world are invited, in a worldwide event, to celebrate God’s gift of peace. Those who take part will be together in spirit, song and prayer with the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Jamaica, united in the hope of peace. Churches and Christians are called to be peacemakers in their communities and in their government, in their business and in the environment. It is a call to unity–across borders–for the sake of peace.
UCC congregations in 1985 General Synod were called to explore the idea of becoming a “Just Peace” church, to proclaim a public identity as a justice-doing, peace-seeking church. Through a process of study and contemplation, congregations develop a statement/covenant that requires a vote by the congregation. What does it mean to be a Just Peace church in times like these? A study guide published by the World Council of Churches includes the following:
Peace in the Community
Peace begins with us, with our neighbors. Our self-understanding and that of others around us determines our ways of relating to the wider world. If we as Christians believe peace on earth must begin at home, how do we ensure peace in our communities? How do we overcome racism, sexism and similar behaviors that violate the lives of so many?
Peace with the Earth
Human beings are called to take responsibility for nature. Today’s challenges in regard to ecology, climate change and natural resources make it urgent to thoughtfully consider our views and actions.
Peace in the Marketplace
The crises of the beginning of this Century compel us to take a critical look at our core assumptions about wealth and poverty, growth and sustainability. How do these assumptions become obstacles to justice and generate violence? What is the role of Christians in the world’s markets, both as participants and in our ministries of reconciliation?
Peace among the Peoples
Working for peace is a form of discipleship. Resolving conflicts between nations, races and religions is an act of faith. An interdependent world means Christians must prevent violence and promote reconciliation in new ways. Are churches building international capacity to keep peace and breaking down national capacity to wage war?