Work of Peace Commission includes prayer, advocacy and resourcing
“Peace is free,” says Paulus Widjaja, outgoing Peace Commission member. “Conflict has a price but the gospel is free.”
The Peace Commission, formed as one of the chambers of the MWC heart (Peace, Deacons, Faith & Life, Mission) in 2009, held a workshop 23 July 2015.
What are the commission’s activities?
Both Mennonite conferences and other Christian bodies have requested prayer from MWC, which passes along the appeal to its members. Many of churches don’t have the resources North Americans have, said a brother from Latin America, but they can “pray, and fast, and cry with those who are suffering conflicts.”
The 2015 MWC General Council gathering approved the Peace Commission’s guidelines for political advocacy. This document can guide policy for MWC officers, conferences and churches.
The Peace Commission has sent letters of support on behalf of Iglesia Evangélica Unida Hermanos Menonitas de Panamà (Panama Mennonite Brethren conference) whose members’ livelihood is threatened by illegal logging, and Hôi Thánh Mennonite Viêt Nam (Vietnam Mennonite Church) where pastors and churches are persecuted.
And the Commission is developing a declaration of solidarity with indigenous peoples.
“We claim to be a peace church, but so many Mennonite churches are split into pieces,” said Widjaja. The Peace Commission is creating resources (stages of conflict chart, guidelines for MWC response to conflict, “healing of memories”) soon to be available through the website.
Future initiatives include developing a Global Anabaptist Peace Network (the subject of a 24 July 2015 workshop, one of nine by the Peace Commission) and engaging the Historic Peace Churches network. We dialogue with ex-enemies, said Widjaja (referring to the Faith & Life Commission’s trilateral discussions with Lutherans and Catholics), why not with friends?
The Peace Commission is also partnering with Conrad Grebel University College to hold a Global Mennonite Peacebuilding conference and festival in Ontario, Canada, June 9–12, 2016.
Karla Braun is editor of Courrier-Correo-Courier.
Peace Commission members:
Joji Pantoja (chair) – Mennonite Church Canada (works with Peacebuilders Community in Mindanao, Philippines)
Andrew Suderman (secretary) – Mennonite Church Canada (works with Anabaptist Network, South Africa)
Robert (Jack) Suderman – Mennonite Church Canada
Jenny Neme – Iglesia Christiana Menonita de Colombia (works with Justapaz)
Garcia Pedro Domingos – Igreja de Comunidade Menonita em Angola
Kenneth Hoke – Brethren in Christ Church in the U.S.