Focus turns to peace at end of anti-violence decade

Published April 1, 2008

The World Council of Churches (WCC) says it will hold an International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Kingston, Jamaica in 2011 as the culmination of its 10-year Decade to Overcome Violence.

“In a world where people are literally killing each other in the name of God it’s good to come together to explore what we have in common,” said Rev. Sharon Watkins, president of the U.S. Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), after the vote on Feb. 15 to hold the gathering in Jamaica.

The convocation is intended to gather about 2,000 people including representatives from WCC member churches and other Christian denominations as well as peace activists, academics, artists and children.

“We want to give visibility to the wonderful work being done to overcome violence and to prove that it is possible to do more than answer violence with violence,” said Rev. Fernando Enns, a pastor of Germany’s Mennonite Church. He proposed the idea of a Decade to Overcome Violence in Harare at the WCC’s 1988 assembly.

The general secretary of the Jamaica Council of Churches, Rev. Gary Harriot, told the committee that the Caribbean was an example of a region where “different ethnic groups and cultures can coexist.”

The anti-violence decade was intended to highlight efforts by churches, ecumenical organizations, and civil society movements to overcome all types of violence.

Rev. Geiko Muller-Fahrenholz, the convocation’s co-ordinator, said he hoped representatives of other faiths would be involved in the drawing up of a “declaration on just peace” to be adopted by the convocation, “so they don’t feel themselves merely visitors.”


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