1949 - 1968 Origins – Historic Peace Churches European Continuation Committee: a response to the catastrophe of WWII
1948 - Founding of the World Council of Churches (WCC) with the assertion “War is contrary to the will of God.”
The North American Historic Peace Church (HPC) Continuation Committee requests that a similar committee be formed in Europe in order to develop a European peace church community and engage the mainline churches in theological discussions on war and peace.
22 February, 5-7 May and 2-4 August 1949 - At the invitation of Dr. M. Robert Zigler, Church of the Brethren, the first meetings are taking place in Geneva, Présinge Abbey and Heerewegen. British Quakers and European members of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) join the Mennonites and Church of the Brethren. The movement, later to be named “Church and Peace” is born.
1953 - The Continuation Committee issues the statement “Peace Is the Will of God.”
15-19 August 1955 - “The Lordship of Christ over Church and State” (Puidoux I)
The European HPC Continuation Committee co-organizes this first in a series of theological dialogues that will come to be known as the “Puidoux Conferences.” Professors from mainline churches join peace church scholars for debate on the interdependence between ecclesiology and peace ethics.
1957 - French IFOR members André and Magda Trocmé and WCC general secretary Visser ‘t Hooft call for nonviolent Christian peace witness in light of the war in Algeria.
12 August 1957 – Eirene, International Christian Peace Service, is founded as a mean to give peace theology a practical expression in solidarity with the marginalized and oppressed.
2-7 August 1960, Bièvres, France – Theologians from Eastern Europe join the Puidoux reflections for the first time. Peace church critique of the symbiosis between church and state resonates with those from churches in communist regimes.
July 1965 – Fundamental tensions emerge during the Puidoux conferences: support for military intervention as a last resort vs. a categorical refusal of violence; commitment to nonviolence as an individual vs. as a community or a church. Further reflection is entrusted to a smaller study commission.
1968 - 1975 Eirene Studies and Liaison - What does a peace church look like?
1968 - The European HPC Continuation Committee becomes Eirene Studies and Liaison. Continued study and dialogue emphasize the interconnection between peace theology and nonviolent witness for peace. A key question: what form does a church take that lives as a peace church?
1969 - Bienenberg, Switzerland – On the heels of global student unrest, Eirene Studies and Liaison organizes a European youth conference. Participants explore “third way” alternatives to resignation or violent revolution in the face of societal inequities. Clear is that “church” must be a tangible expression of community in prayer and action.
1973 - Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder identifies intentional communities and similar groups within the mainline churches as partners for renewed peace church dialogue in Europe.
1975 - 1983 “Church and Peace” - Finding expressions of peace church
June 1975 - Malteserhof near Bonn, Germany – Meetings at the Eirene Studies and Liaison office result in a blueprint for networking between HPCs, IFOR and peace church-minded groups within the mainline churches. Church and Peace begins assuming its current form.
1976 - The former Eirene Studies and Liaison secretariat becomes the Church and Peace liaison office. It aims to continue theological reflection and dialogue with mainstream churches, and to develop forms of peace church witness.
Wilfried Warneck is appointed Church and Peace coordinator. He and wife Ruth embark on visits to potential peace church-minded groups and communities.
17-20 February 1977 – The first Church and Peace international conference takes place in Bendorf, Germany. The diverse group of participants - tensions notwithstanding - recognizes their commonality and their need to experience the other’s way of being peace church.
29 June 1978 - Church and Peace is founded as an association of “Christians, churches and Christian communities working among churches for the diffusion and realization of the conviction that the peace testimony belongs to the characteristic of the Church of Jesus Christ.”
August 1978 – A seed is planted for the later realization of the Cells of Hope project. The aim is to send teams from member communities to ensure a presence of prayer, nonviolent action and hospitality in areas where peace is threatened.
15 December 1980 – Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel inaugurates the Plowshares Fund in Alkmaar, Netherlands. The Fund is to offer individuals and churches “the opportunity to convert energy and resources, which up to this time have been geared towards warfare, into instruments of active peacemaking.”
1983 - 1990 Peace Church and the Conciliar Process
1983 - Resolutions from the Sixth WCC Assembly in Vancouver initiate the Conciliar Process for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC).
June 1985 – At the German Protestant Church Congress in Düsseldorf, Church and Peace argues for the creation of a worldwide peace council. For Church and Peace, justice is linked to dismantling structural violence. The church is to transform unjust systems and offer healing for the wounds caused by injustice by following the path Jesus modeled of diakonia, or service.
18-22 June 1986, Braunfels, Germany – The First European Peace Church Assembly is a living embodiment of a Eucharistic peace community. The gathering emphasizes yet again the centrality of active nonviolence and hints at East-West connections that will shape the network in the future.
In response to the Braunfels Assembly, the Network of Fasting and Prayer is created.
15-17 April 1988 – The Church and Peace Annual General Meeting in Heverlee, Belgium, identifies the development of a “peace diaconate” as a priority for the network.
6-12 August 1988 – Together with IFOR, Pax Christi International and the Franciscan European Working Groups for JPIC, Church and Peace organizes the European Ecumenical Dialogue for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation in Assisi, Italy. Contacts intensify with Roman Catholic and pre-Reformation groups such as the Franciscans and Waldensians.
15-21 May 1989 – First European Ecumenical Assembly, Basel, Switzerland. A message drafted at the April 1989 Church and Peace members meeting forms the basis for a peace church minority vote that garners widespread support among Assembly delegates. Church and Peace organizes a Peace House during the Assembly.
1990 - 1999 Regionalization and Shalom Services
March 1990 - Church and Peace initiates a daily peace church discussion group during the World Convocation on JPIC in Seoul, South Korea. The consultation’s final document speaks of a common obligation to practice gospel-based “active and life-giving nonviolence” to bring about justice and liberation, and calls for the development of a worldwide justice and peace diaconate.
1990s – The effort to maintain contacts and implement projects at local and regional levels results in the semi-regionalization of the Church and Peace network.
Autumn 1990 – Regional office opens in Strasbourg, France
12-14 October 1990 – First international conference in Eastern Europe held in Leipzig, Germany. Contacts are made with the Hungarian Bokor Movement.
March 1992 – Church and Peace is involved in the founding of Oekumenischer Dienst im Konziliaren Prozeß (Ecumenical Services), providing training and accompaniment for “shalom deacons.”
December 1992 – The Liaison Centre for Ecumenical Services for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation opens in Geneva. Brainchild of the 1988 Assisi meeting co-organizers, the Centre informs about voluntary service options, and maintains a directory of church-related voluntary service agencies worldwide.
27-30 April 1995 - A Eastern Europe seminar and the international conference in Pécel, Hungary, reflect increasing connections to East and Southeast Europe. Representatives of the WCC’s recently launched Programme to Overcome Violence attend the gathering.
1997 – Regional office opens in Székesfehérvar, Hungary.
14-16 March 1997 – The European Peace Church Consultation in Wetzlar, Germany, formulates a peace church memorandum for delegates at the upcoming European ecumenical assembly.
23-29 June 1997 – Second European Ecumenical Assembly in Graz, Austria. Church and Peace organizes a Peace House together with IFOR and Pax Christi International.
30 June – 4 July 1997 – Assembly of the Conference of European Churches (CEC). Church and Peace joins CEC as an associate organization.
28-30 May 1999 – Church and Peace’s 50th anniversary celebration is marked by the ongoing NATO bombings in Serbia and Montenegro and adjacent territories. In the Bienenberg Declaration, participants commit themselves as peace churches to “costly ecumenism” that both loves the enemy and stands by those in danger.
2000 .... European Peace Church Witness in the 21st Century
24-29 April 2001 – A Balkans seminar held prior to the international conference in Elspeet, Netherlands, is an indication of the emerging network in Southeast Europe.
1-4 May 2003 – The first Church and Peace international conference in Southeast Europe takes place at the Evangelical Theological Faculty in Osijek, Croatia.
28 April - 1 May 2005 – Participants at a Southeast Europe meeting held in conjunction with the international conference in Selbitz, Germany, decide to plan a regional conference in the area.
20-24 September 2006 – Church and Peace is co-organizer of the first regional inter-religious conference to be held in Southeast Europe, on the island of Krk, Croatia.
13-17 June 2007 – Church and Peace meets for the first time in Northern Ireland, hosted by the Corrymeela Community. The message from the conference emphasizes the peace church’s commitment to building true security by unarmed vulnerability and working towards creating justice locally, nationally and internationally.
4-8 September 2007 – Church and Peace issues a joint message with the Assisi coalition and organizes a hearing on the topic of true security during the Third European Ecumenical Assembly in Sibiu, Rumania.
2008 - 2009 – Two regional conferences and two annual general meetings debate the concept of “Responsibility to Protect (R2P)” and the statement of WCC. A declaration of the General Meeting 2009 is submitted to WCC (see page ...). An international theological working group is finalizing a reaction of Church and Peace to the 1st draft “Glory to God and peace on earth” of the DOV in view of the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation to be held in 2011.