… is a short word, one that we wish each other in almost every service. It goes fast to say it but what does it mean? Is peace something that I can wish for another person and then do nothing more? After the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) I feel that it is not so. To wish someone peace is also a commitment that I make. I commit to work always for the possibility of peace for my fellow human being.
The IEPC was a meeting of the World Council of Churches to end the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV). One objective of the DOV was to move the concern for peace from the outskirts to the center of the churches. Examples of different actions during the decade was presented but the greatest emphasize was put on the work that lies ahead. In the message of the IEPC the churches name the urgent importance of a new international agenda for the work towards Just Peace.
For me personally the most memorable moments from the IEPC were especially two things:
- Stories and Meetings. Throughout the week I was moved by the different stories people shared. Asha Kowtal, a Dalit activist, talked about the situation of the Dalits and the triple discrimination Dalit women face on account of caste, class and patriarchy. The movie “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” told of women as peace makers during the civil war of Liberia. Georgia Corowa from Australia shared the “Living Letters” visit to the indigenous communities in Australia and the discrimination many indigenous groups suffer from. During the week also many small meetings took place; in the food line, in the bus, in work-shops etc. Everyone was eager to share and learn from each other. To hear another person share about his or her hard work for peace is often hard and painful. At the same time, it also challenges me to work for a culture of peace.
- Bible studies. To share moments of Bible reading and reflection together was great. While reading some passages for the first time and rediscovering others it is interesting to hear what interpretations others make, where we agree and where we think differently. As we sit there together I also become even more convinced that the Bible can never leave us without encouragement to act for a community in peace.
If you want to receive more information about the IEPC please contact me on: firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to share.
God of Life, lead us to Justice and Peace!
Representative from the Church of Sweden at the IEPC.