15.02.08 15:09 Age: 4 yrs

Kingston will host WCC peace convocation in 2011

 

Geneva  Switzerland

Rev. Dr Fernando Enns, moderator of the Decade to Overcome Violence Reference Group, said he felt Kingston would be a good site for this major peace event.

The convocation will meet under the theme "Glory to God and peace on earth". It will be the culmination of the WCC's Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV), which has sought to network and bring attention to the peacemaking initiatives of its various member churches.

 

WCC Central Committee members reached consensus on Kingston as the venue during a session on Friday 15 February. Nairobi, Kenya, was the other finalist. Rev. Dr Fernando Enns, moderator of the Decade to Overcome Violence Reference Group, said he felt Kingston would be a good site for this major peace event.

 

"It has been with the DOV since the very beginning," said Enns, noting that Kingston was one of seven cities in the "Peace to the City" campaign that preceded the DOV emphasis. He also observed that there have not been major ecumenical gatherings in the Caribbean region. Planners estimate 2,000 or more people will participate.

 

A series of "expert consultations" on a variety of peace and reconciliation-related topics are taking place as momentum builds toward the convocation. Five took place in 2007, and eight more are planned for this year.

 

Enns reflected on the theme during a Bible study Friday morning. Drawn from a familiar passage in Luke 2, "It's right at the centre of the Christmas story", Enns said. It connects peace with God and the earth in a spirit of expectation, he said, and it is set in the midst of incarnation¬ójust as churches must become incarnations of peace in the world today.

 

Other speakers in the session shared a model of such incarnation: the WCC's "Living Letters" visits, in which ecumenical teams of international church representatives travel to areas of violence to express solidarity. One group travelled to the United States last fall to dialogue about gun violence, and another group completed a visit to Kenya earlier this month. Kenyans, struggling with post-election violence, "wanted support and prayers", said Mr. Graham McGeoch, a Central Committee member from Scotland who was part of the group.

 

Rev. Dr Jayasiri Peiris, general secretary of the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka -another nation that received a "Living Letters" visit-said those efforts represent the church striving "to be the living body of Christ".

 

The International Ecumenical Peace Convocation hopes to share many such stories, Enns said, while also honestly looking at where differences and suffering still exist. In addition, an Ecumenical Declaration on Just Peace is being drafted. It will be circulated among member churches, and a working draft will ultimately be taken to the convocation for action.

 

"The peace convocation should be a milestone in our ecumenical deliberations on peace and justice", Enns said. "It is not only preaching to the world, but reflecting on ourselves".

 

Click on the links below for more background information on

 

The International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC)

 

The Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV)

 

The WCC Central Committee meeting