July 2011: Striving for Peace
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
Mathew 5: 9
Kingston, Jamaica, was the host city for the World Council of Churches’
(WCC) International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in May. The theme was
“Glory to God and peace on earth”. It was the culmination of the
WCC’s Decade to Overcome Violence, which has sought to network and bring
attention to the peacemaking initiatives of its various member churches. More
than 2,000 participated.
leaders took time to recognize the work done during the decade to overcome
violence, and also invited churches to “renew their commitment to nonviolence,
peace and just peace,” through a variety of events including the planting
of peace trees, a peace Sunday and a peace concert in Kingston.
around the world joined convocation participants in prayers, special events and
worship services including the use of a Caribbean prayer for peace which was
translated into more than 20 languages, and singing the convocation theme song,
“Glory to God, Peace on Earth,” written by Jamaican musician Grub Cooper.
A series of consultations on a variety of peace and reconciliation-related
topics took place in the years prior to the convocation, which built
significant momentum. One group travelled to the United States last fall to
dialogue about gun violence. Another group met with Kenyans struggling with
post-election violence. The Rev Dr Jayasiri Peiris, general secretary of the
National Christian Council of Sri Lanka said the consultation visits represented
the church striving “to be the living body of Christ”.
The International Ecumenical Peace Convocation participants heard many
stories of transformative peace efforts, but also honestly studied where
differences and suffering still exist. The convocation became a milestone in
ecumenical deliberations on peace and justice.
Today we pray that each one of us will be peacemakers in our world.