How can churches practically contribute to peace? This is the big question that will be asked at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Kingston, Jamaica, in May this year. Many young people from Lutheran churches are also involved. The LWF Youth blog is going to cover their participation. Here is a first contribution by Sanna Erikson from Sweden:

The achievements of the World Council of Churches ”Decade to Overcome Violence”, initiated in 2001, will be celebrated during the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) held in Kingston, Jamaica on the 18th – 24th of May 2011. It will be a time for churches and individuals to renew their commitment to work for nonviolence, peace and justice in the world. An Ecumenical Declaration on Just Peace has also been produced in time for the meeting.

During the meeting, many different work-shops of ”Reasoning for Sharing and Learning” will be held. One of them is called Empowerment for Just Peace, organized by Church of Sweden (member of the Lutheran World Federation), The Mission Covenant Church of Sweden and the Christian Council of Sweden. The aim of the work-shop is to discuss the possibilities to develop a coordinated faith-based ecumenical programme, Empowerment for Just Peace, in order to enable people to prevent escalation of conflicts and to be agents for nonviolent change.

The work-shop Empowerment for Just Peace, will follow up the recommendation from the World Council of Churches (WCC) Convocation on Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (held in Seoul 1990): to develop and coordinate ”justice and peace ministries including a global nonviolent service which can advance the struggle for human rights and liberation and serve in situations of conflict, crisis and violence”. This recommendation led to the creation and implementation of various programs such as Ecumenical Monitoring Programme  in South Africa, EMPSA, and the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, EAPPI. These programs working with preventive protection should now be complemented with programs for empowerment building competence and capacity in conflict areas. A ”global nonviolent service”, a capacity together with local actors will enable assistance in emergency situations and contribute to a culture of nonviolence and peace.

Please let us know what you think of the initiative of a ”global nonviolent service”. We welcome your questions and comments to help us improve the work! Please let your churches know about it and encourage people who are participating in the IEPC to attend the work-shop Empowerment for Just Peace and to cooperate in our efforts.

Sanna Eriksson

Delegate from Church of Sweden at the IEPC.
Participated as a steward from the Church of Sweden during the 11th Assembly of the LWF in Stuttgart 2010.