Dear friends of Church and Peace,
The war in Ukraine with tens of thousands dead, hundreds of thousands wounded and millions of people fleeing is profoundly disturbing to us all – and we can only hope that it will not escalate into nuclear warfare. “War is like a forest fire. When it turns into a raging blaze it can’t be fought from the centre. You can only try to contain and extinguish it from the edges; in the centre the fire has to burn out,” said a participant at our International Conference in Crikvenica (Croatia).
We contribute to containing the war from the edges when we oppose the logic of war, when we confront the causes, triggers and consequences of war, and when our hearts and hands are wide open for the victims of war on all sides.
That is why we advocate for a policy and practice of nonviolence and are committed to the dialogue on the call to make peace and role of the churches in Europe.
As Christians we trust in God’s Spirit. It links us all together, in spite of all our diversity – this is a powerful resource and an instrument against hate, violence and hopelessness.
Other “fires” too, like the climate crisis or growing racism are worrying and challenging us. That is why, next year, we intend to look into the colonial history of our churches and its consequences for peace work.
Here is already a warm invitation to join us in reflecting together on this issue at the next European Conference from 29 September to 1 October 2023 in Baarlo, Netherlands.
The far-flung network of Church and Peace needs the support of competent staff, intensive communication in the board and with the members, and public witness to the power of nonviolence.
We hope for your donation so that this can continue to be possible.
Warmest thanks and best regards
Church and Peace 2022: four conferences in four countries – a spirit of nonviolence
What a blessing that after over two years of pandemic we were finally able to meet again personally and strengthen our Europe-wide network. The four conferences focused on exchange on the rich fund of experience in dealing with the challenges of our age and nonviolent alternatives. The firm trust in God’s Spirit, that enables change in ourselves and the world, sustains and strengthens us. And how much it is needed by those who opt for other ways forward, rather than accepting that there is no alternative to the spiral of violence – the debate about the war in Ukraine makes that very clear.
The encounter “Rethinking security in Europe” on 11 June 2022 in Paris and Strasbourg focused particularly on the courage needed to practice nonviolence; our French-speaking members agreed to keep working on this concept.
At the day conference “The work of our hands? Reconciliation in turbulent times” in Birmingham, UK on 2 July 2022 members and friends underlined that peace is a ‘doing word’ and inspires us to take action for reconciliation and justice.
At our international conference on “Division. War. Nonviolence.” from 20 to 23 October 2022 in Croatia members from the region illustrated their experience of nonviolence in war as an alternative to escalation of violence.
The German-speaking regional conference reflected on “Prejudices, enemy stereotypes and racism a challenges for peace work” from 25 to 27 November in Karlsruhe. Participants were encouraged to be self-critical and picked up practical ideas for their own work for peace.