Wednesday, May 11, 2011

International Ecumenical Peace Convocation starts 17 May

World Council of Churches - News


For immediate release: 11 May 2011

With the voices of speakers including Martin Luther King III and German
Lutheran pastor Dr Margot Kässmann, the International Ecumenical Peace
Convocation (IEPC) will begin next week. This major ecumenical event
organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) is to take place at the
University of the West Indies (Link:
) (UWI) in Kingston, Jamaica.

"Glory to God and Peace on Earth" will be the theme of the IEPC which aims
at witnessing to the Peace of God as a gift and responsibility of the
churches and the world. The convocation runs from 17-25 May.

The IEPC is the culmination of the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV)
programme authorized by the WCC at its 1998 Harare Assembly and initiated in
2001. The event will bring some 1,000 participants from around the globe,
representing WCC member constituencies, ecumenical and civil society
networks working in the area of peace and justice.

Hosted by the Jamaican Council of Churches and the Caribbean Council of
Churches, the IEPC will be the major ecumenical event prior to the 10th
Assembly of the WCC in 2013 in Busan, Korea.

"The IEPC comes at a time when the world is experiencing significant
political paradigm shifts, and much of this is coming with violence and
conflict," said WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit. "This event
brings the peace movements and church leaders together and offers space and
time to explore the role of the church and religion as peacemaker. We will
ask one another what it means to follow Christ today and tomorrow."

"But peace is not just about ending conflicts," Tveit continued. "It is also
about seeking justice and building sustainable conditions for peace. We find
the need for just peace in the economy, peace among peoples and cultures and
peace within communities and with the earth."

A culture of just peace

The primary goal of the IEPC is to contribute to the efforts to create a
culture of just peace and to facilitate new networks that will focus on
peace in communities and the world.

Four thematic foci of the IEPC will be on peace in the community, peace with
the earth, peace in the marketplace and peace among the peoples.
These themes will be addressed through various components of the convocation
- spiritual life, Bible studies, plenary sessions, workshops and seminars.

"The IEPC will be an occasion to reaffirm the ecumenical family's commitment
to just peace by way of proclaiming a call to just peace,''
said Dr Mathews George Chunakara, director of the Commission of the Churches
on International Affairs who is heading the IEPC preparation and planning
team of the WCC.

"The IEPC will also be an occasion for seeking to assess and strengthen the
church's position on peace, provide new opportunities to establish
networking and deepen our collective efforts and joint commitments to
processes and avenues that will lead to a culture of just peace in a complex
world situation," Chunakara said.

On Sunday 22 May 2011, participants of the IEPC will join in a worldwide
event when churches are invited to celebrate (Link:
)God's gift of peace. Those who take part will be together in spirit, song
and prayer with the IEPC participants in Jamaica, united in the hope of

Speakers at the convocation include King and Kässmann, the WCC general
secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, Rev. Dr Paul Gardner of Jamaica,
Ernestina Lopez Bac of Guatemala, Metropolitan Dr Hilarion of Volokolamsk of
the Russian Orthodox Church, Canon Paul Oestreicher of New Zealand and a
dozen others from churches and religious communities around the world.

The daily plenary sessions and discussions will be broadcast live via web
streaming. To watch the sessions, go to the IEPC web page (Link: ).

On Friday 20 May, a peace concert will be held in Emancipation Park,
Kingston, featuring a number of Jamaican acts including the Fab Five, one of
the top bands in Jamaica.

More information on World Sunday for Peace (Link: )

How to participate online (Link: )

The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and
service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches
founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox,
Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in
over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.
The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran]
Church of Norway. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.


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