Our commitment to working for peace starts with our faith in Christ who is the Prince of Peace and says “Blessed are the peacemakers”.
We want to offer resources to help Christian communities reflect on our sacred peace-making task. One significant resource comes from the World Council of Churches, which spent the first decade of the 21st century reflecting on this issue of peace.
Singing the songs of peace:
These songs of peace from Latin America aim to express the motto that has been chosen for the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) : “Glory to God and Peace on Earth”. They are not only suitable for the Advent season, but can be used in churches’ celebrations as well as in other meetings during the whole liturgical year. You are encouraged to use them freely, but please respect their Creative Commons License. Scores include lyrics in English, French, German and Spanish.
A Meditation by Archbishop Prof. Dr Anastasios of Tirana and Durres, Primate of Albania at the opening prayer service of the Central Committee meeting February 2011.
“Relationship of peace and justice. From its earliest development, Christian thought identified peace with justice, with righteousness. “Righteousness and peace will kiss (according to the Septuaginta, translation: kissed) each other” (Ps 85:10). Sincere yearning for peace at both the local and the global level means a true desire and struggle for justice. An unjust world cannot be peaceful. Today peace and justice have also acquired another name: development. And all of us, all the Churches can and must contribute to the development of the poorest areas. Poverty remains the worst type of violence. When people, near or far from us, are deprived of the basic needs for their survival, it is not strange that they turn to other directions and adopt other extremist religious beliefs about the meaning of life and death”.
From this document Nurturing Peace we read:
“What is the meaning of following Christ in a violent world? What are the problems and possibilities in the formulation of a new Christology of peace, particularly as an alternative to the traditional western Christologies that have been intricately and extensively associated with Christian triumphalism and aggressive Christian expansion? What can be learnt from the life and ministry of Jesus Christ about peace that can inform contemporary practice? What kind of language is required to talk about Christ as a path of peace, justice and reconciliation in a pluralistic world? Is it then possible to view Christ the logos as counter to the logic of violence? Different people may understand logos differently. Some may be reminded of the theological debates of the early church leaders. Others may view the idea as a new way of talking about Christ as the living prophetic Word of God in action (the dabar of God), which is biblically connected with creation through the Word (Gen. 1). A call to follow this prophetic word could, therefore, be a call to work for transformation.
Justice and peace as form and functions of the church: The Church is defined both by its being and by its doing. The church, as a community of disciples, is a lived ethic. The Ecclesiology and Ethics study of the Faith and Order and Justice, Peace and Creation of WCC amply emphasises this point. The study points out that the church not only announces the coming reign of God but also makes that vision present through its own life and actions. If so, is it possible to see peacemaking as a status confessionis? What are the problems and possibilities for the churches to present themselves as alternative social visions that embody the value of just peace through their form and functions? In other words, how can the churches affirm the dignity and rights of all within and around, understand and exercise power in non-oppressive ways, and realise mutuality and interdependence in their own concrete ecclesial contexts? Faith and Order’s ongoing study on ecclesiology may offer some insights.
Missiology of Shalom: If peace is, in the words of Bonhoeffer, “not only to enjoy but to do”, then missiological explorations need to be guided by the biblical vision of shalom (Isa. 54:10; 65: 17-25). This implies a call to become and build communities of shalom. The concept of shalom may be a helpful link with the other major Abrahamic traditions. Other religious traditions also uphold similar social visions. Shalom reminds us of our bondedness with creation and compels us to uphold the wholeness of the created order. While affirming its universal character, is it possible for the churches to realise the vision in partnership with other communities? Therefore a missiology committed to the vision of peace with justice may help the churches not only to realise the vision but also to move towards greater self-discovery as they work with people of other faiths for a world of peace with justice.
Spirituality for a culture of peace: If shalom is the vision of a polity of justice and peace and one that articulates the eschatalogical hope, then resistance to and confrontation with forces
that hinder shalom become important expressions of faith. It calls for a new understanding of being Christian, a new spirituality that seeks the practice of faith rooted in ethics and is
convinced of and committed to uphold the inter-relatedness of life. As such it is action-oriented, creative, open and inclusive. It confronts violent structures, cultures and forces that
influence relationships at all levels with a view to transform the same. Is it then possible to envision a Christian spirituality beyond the narrow confines of religion for the sake of life
and the world? Is it possible to identify such boundary transcending experiences in the experience of the churches and communities?
Study courses on peace and non-violence
Pace e Bene Australia invites you to join us on a journey, exploring nonviolent living…Through the provision of educational materials and community workshop facilitators, Pace e Bene provide a study and action program that explores nonviolence as a creative, powerful and effective process for addressing and resolving the conflicts in our lives and in the life of the world. Drawing on the vision of Jesus, Gandhi, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., Shelley Douglass, John Dear and many others, these programs offer your church, school, community, or group resources to deepen the journey from fear to freedom, from despair to hope, from violence to wholeness. Read more here
Alternatives to Violence Project began in 1975. An inmate group at Green Haven Prison (New York) was working with youth gangs and teenagers at risk. This workshop was so successful that requests were received for more, and AVP was born and quickly grew. It is now an independent organisation, with no religious affiliations. AVP currently conducts hundreds of workshops each year in prisons in Australia there are programmes in about a dozen correctional facilities including three prisons in W.A. Find out more here