Business as usual or

What are we learning and how do we go forward?

We are indeed living through a special moment.

Already before the global coronavirus outbreak, there was a noticeable increasing sensitivity to environmental issues, social and economic justice, democracy and peacebuilding. This stood in unfortunate contrast to the norm: denial of imminent ecological catastrophe, growing social and economic injustice in Europe and other parts of the world, responding to migration by sealing off borders, growing populist and nationalist tendencies reinforced by fake news.

The coronavirus is an occasion for many to reflect upon the world we live in and the world we want to care for. Today, not just some activists, but a broader spectrum of society seem to become aware of

  • How interdependent we are as one humanity in face of this ‘virus without borders’

  • How fragile we are individually and as states and that it is not weapons that will save us

  • How all the above mentioned subjects are interlinked and that we need to add even new ones to the list, like a just and efficient worldwide public health care

  • How much we need a really sustainable and just economy.

As a Church and Peace network we are also affected. We had to cancel our Annual General Meeting in the Netherlands in May as well as the meeting of the French speaking members in June. In addition to the coronavirus, our members in Croatia lived through an earthquake and those in Kosovo through a US-manipulated overthrow of their government. Both of these events have gone next to unnoticed. We just mention two of many examples in countries where Church and Peace does have members.

The risk for us all is that ‘the day after’ we try to pick up our former habits again, to ‘catch up on things’, or to be absorbed again by ‘business as usual’ and that we miss out on what we have learnt or what we could learn.

We want to know what moves our members in the different regions at this moment. How did we live through these past months? What are the challenges waiting for us now, personally and as Church and Peace network?

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We suggest that, whenever it is possible again, we come together, either as regional meetings or as smaller groups of individuals and that we share about how all this affects us as corporate, associated and individual members. And should this not be possible in a foreseeable future, let us have an online communication. What are our experiences, what comes to our minds, what are our questions and the seeds of meaning, change and acting we find?

The objectives for these meetings are:

  • To name the signs of the time: put words on the experience and insights of these last months

  • To discern the signs of the time: see what is specific to regions and what we share in common; what are the themes challenging us as a Church and Peace network?

  • To take responsibility for the signs of the time within our scope: what can our members do and how can the members of the network support each other in the realisation of what we have discerned as a call for us?

We propose a simple methodology, linking in with the Word of God that will lead us through times of deep sharing of

  • What we have become aware of on a personal, intellectual, political and spiritual level?

  • How perhaps our lives and commitments are changing in the light of this experience?

  • How we feel challenged to go forward together?

We call upon our members who are interested in bringing this process to life.

Let us discover what the Spirit wants to say to us today! As a network, we want to hear all voices and take them into account. We may take up themes at our Annual General Meetings and conferences; they may connect us to new people or initiatives; the answers may inspire new input on our website and for a revised leaflet. Who knows?

And we may feel that Paul is speaking to us too when he writes: ‘My prayer for you is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that in all you may recognise what is best.’ (Phil 1:9-10)

Take part in the conversation!

Use the dialogue paper and request the facilitation guidelines from the International Office to organise a discussion.