BIC affiliate releases report on peacemaking among Anabaptist-related Churches
GRANTHAM, Pa. (november 7, 2012)—Mennonite World Conference (MWC), an international fellowship of Anabaptist (including the Brethren in Christ Church in the U.S.), recently released this update on its Peace Audit project:
A report on the results of a recent Peace Audit of Mennonite World Conference member churches is now available on the MWC website. The report is based on the results of a 2011–2012 survey of MWC member churches, asking the question: "How is your church doing in its desire to be a Peace Church?"
The question was prepared by the MWC Peace Commission. It got written responses from 21 of the 100 MWC member churches—six from Asia and the Pacific, six from Latin America and the Caribbean, three from Europe, and six from North America.
"The responses provide profound windows into the lives of these churches," commented Peace Commission secretary, Robert J. Suderman.
A copy of the full report, available in both English and Spanish, can be downloaded here (pdf).
In a letter accompanying the report, Suderman noted,
It is encouraging to see that MWC member-churches:
a) Are aware of their identity as Peace Churches;
b) Are creatively working at what this means in the many contexts we represent;
c) Acknowledge the challenges and complexities they face in their efforts to be obedient to Christ as disciples of the Prince of Peace;
d) Confess that there is a gap between who we say we are and what we do;
e) Clearly identify the need for support, especially in prayer and key resources needed.
. . . As we listed the challenges identified, we became aware again that being a “Peace Church” is indeed an awesome calling: one that confronts us with incredible opportunities but within persistent, contextual difficulties. It is evident that the forces aligned against a “Peace Church” identity and vocation come both from inside and outside the church.
[As members of MWC,] we can all pray for each other, knowing that we have distinct yet common challenges, and that we are committed to the same Prince of Peace as Lord of our lives.
Prior to its becoming two national General Conferences this summer, the BIC Church in North America submitted its contribution to the Peace Audit. The document—prepared by Curtis Book and Harriet Sider Bicksler, two longstanding advocates of Christian peacemaking within the BIC Church—can be downloaded in full here, and a summary can be read here.
Warren Hoffman, moderator of the Brethren in Christ Church in the U.S., notes that the Peace Audit "confirms that BIC U.S. shares many of the same challenges to peacemaking as do other Christian communities. As we seek to live out our commitment to our Core Value of Pursuing Peace, we must join with our brothers and sisters from other peace churches in praying for the Prince of Peace to take precedence in our lives and actions."