Working Together as People of Faith, People of Peace
This morning I realized I will depart for the World Council of Churches (WCC) International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) in 13 days. 13 days!
As I begin to set my heart and mind toward Kingston in less than two weeks time, I am looking forward to meeting and being with other people of faith from around the world, the worship and sessions together, the (hopefully) warmer weather and, particularly, to living fully into the ecumenical landscape that allows us to strive for peace-making together.
The draft LWF Strategy for 2012-2017 states under the “Our Lutheran identity” section (p. 5):
“To be Lutheran is to be freed by grace to love and serve the neighbor.
To be Lutheran is to be ecumenical. […]
We reach out to, engage and work beside other faith communities to promote understanding and build relationships for a better world. As Lutheran churches we understand that God’s mission requires we have a public role in society, relating to others of good will who share our commitments.”
This past Sunday, May 1, 2011, in the North American region, four churches (the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Anglican Church of Canada, The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada) met and worshiped together in Buffalo, New York. Church leaders and members marked the 10th anniversary of Called to Common Mission which gives expression to the full communion relationship between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Episcopal Church. It also marks the 10th Anniversary of the full communion agreement between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Anglican Church of Canada.
In their “10th Anniversary Pastoral Letter,” North American church leaders called for continued work and service together in relationship on a variety of issues that will be discussed at the World Council of Churches International Ecumenical Peace Convocation including environmental justice, poverty and economic justice and immigration reform. These leaders made public witness to peace-making and justice-seeking, which was made stronger through their shared commitment.
The world we live in can be a fragmented, violence-filled place. However, joined together, people of faith can be an equally healing, peace-centered presence in the dark, fractured places. Whether through full communion partnerships like the one celebrated above this past weekend or through friendships and relationships between people in communities and families, people of faith can be powerful actors for peace.
When we reach out and open ourselves to “relating to others of good will who share our commitments,” our homes, churches, communities and nations become a fuller expression of what God intends for life together—places of wholeness and rich diversity.
In the days leading up to this culminating celebration, affirmation and dreaming of ways forward, my prayer is for safe travels, wisdom and a sense of common purpose to bless the delegates, staff and visitors to the WCC IEPC. My hope is that this gathering will mark a new chapter in the collective power of people of faith as people of peace.
“8 Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3: 8-9)
Question for reflection and discussion:
In what ways do people of faith, perhaps even people of differing faiths, work and serve together for peace, wholeness and justice in your community, congregation, school or work place?
Faithfully submitted and prepared by Mikka McCracken. Mikka is a LWF council member from the North America region and will serve as an LWF representative to the WCC IEPC. She lives in Chicago, Illinois, USA where she enjoys recreational running, good vegetarian food and listening to original movie score soundtracks.