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Preparatory Paper N° 6: Documentation on EMS Consultations on Reconciliation

We request our churches in Korea, Japan and Germany to work locally for the remembrance of history and the transmission of insights gained thereby to the next generation. We therefore request our congregations to work for a situation where the wrongdoing, which in some cases has only just come to light, is not repressed, and call upon them to seek solutions in cooperation with the responsible politicians and citizens' action groups.

10 May 2005

Preparatory Paper No 6

We are pleased to add the following documentation to the series of preparatory papers for the Athens world mission conference. They exemplify how a community of churches and mission bodies addressed issues of reconciliation and violence, healing of memory, common witness and peace-building. The EMS study process is a contribution to the DOV - and as a reflection by an intercontinental mission community - also to the preparation for the CWME conference. The documents are reproduced here with permission and an introduction specially drafted for this series by the EMS general secretary. We have kept the documents in their original spelling, but without reproducing the names of participants.

Jacques Matthey

Foreword

The EMS, German acronym for “Association of Churches and Missions in South West Germany” (Evangelisches Missionswerk in Suedwestdeutschland), has embarked on a journey from a German based mission body to an ecumenical, international fellowship comprising 23 churches and four mission societies on the three continents Europe, Africa and Asia. This self-understanding finds its expression in the EMS Mission Council as the most important decision making body, a round table with voting rights for all churches and organisations in the fellowship, likewise in a common mission statement and policy framework elaborated in a participatory process over several years, in international networks, e.g. of women and youth, and above all in joint programmes. Since 1991, when delegates from all churches and organisations met in Jerusalem to work out recommendations for the ecumenical journey together, “common witness” has become the catch phrase to signify what binds the fellowship together. For the past seven years, each year a particular theme has become a vital aspect of this ecumenical fellowship. For two consecutive years, 2001 and 2002, the EMS Mission Council agreed on “Reconciliation” as the common focus. In course of this period, several consultations were held, reflecting the challenges of reconciliation in various contexts.

 

  • a German-Korean-Japanese consultation organised by the German East Asia Mission, the Aunae Foundation, Korea, and the Tomizaka Christian Centre, Japan, from 12 to 16 September 2000 in Musashi-Ranzan near Tokyo, Japan
  • a consultation held from 21 to 23 November 2001 in Mahabalipuram, India, with delegates from all CSI dioceses and from theological colleges, organised by the EMS India Liaison Desk and the Church of South India
  • a consultation held from 27 to 31 January 2002 in Tomohon, Minahasa, Indonesia, organised by the EMS Indonesia Liaison Desk and nine Indonesian churches
  • a consultation held from 16 to 27 November 2002 in Hanover Park, Cape, South Africa, with 30 participants from eight countries and 17 churches, organised by the EMS Secretariat and the Moravian Church in South Africa

 

These consultations are part of an ongoing process in the wider ecumenical movement. They were meant to make contributions to the WCC Decade to Overcome Violence. Within the EMS fellowship, “reconciliation” has remained on the agenda. In July 2003, the EMS Mission Council agreed on a biennial programme on “peace building” as the common focus for the two forthcoming years. Thus, the EMS plays a humble role as an ecumenical forum facilitating the exchange of experiences in peace building and interlinking initiatives in different contexts in the common commitment to peace, justice and reconciliation.

Bernhard Dinkelaker
EMS General Secretary

From 12 to 16 September 2000 Christians from South Korea, Japan and Germany met in Musashi-Ranzan near Tokyo. These are the findings and the questions raised. The following is a contribution to the World Council of Churches' Programme to Overcome Violence.

We worked on the topics of FORGIVENESS; REPARATION AND RENUNCIATION OF VIOLENCE. We are dismayed at the atrocities committed in the last 60 years in Germany, Korea and Japan, some of which are only just being made public in all their terrible details. We remember e.g. the Massacre of Nogun-ri caused by US troops during the Korea War, Kwangju (1980), the bloodbath committed by Japan in Nanjing (1937), the Shoa in Germany and the political wrongdoing in the former German Democratic Republic.

We are dismayed to hear how Japanese soldiers handled Korean women in the Pacific War. We heard of the forced abductions by the Japanese state during the colonial domination of Japan over Korea. We are troubled that many innocent people who suffered in prisons have not yet been compensated. We confess that our churches in their countries did not raise their voice against this use of violence with sufficient clarity.

Because God has given us a new beginning we see that it is possible to find new avenues to move towards one another, and go forward with one another, despite all the still unsettled business and all offence given.

Renunciation of Violence

  • with contempt for people of other cultures and religions,
  • with indifference towards the political and economic reality,
  • with ignoring other people,
  • with a use of language that is pejorative about minorities,
  • with social isolation or psychological humiliation.

In each state and in economic power (Mammon) we see the danger of people becoming not just more protected and wealthy but also threatened. We consider it legitimate to resist enslaving power. We request congregations to talk with believers from other countries about the role of the military and the non-violence, in order to outline new prospects for a non-violent future. The goals of the Sermon on the Mount and the practice of Gandhi, Martin Luther King and 1997 in Kwangju ("disempower tear gas") must not be forgotten. We hold law and justice to be the most important alternative to violence. That is why international law, the international courts and human rights must be reinforced.

We intend to be more alert to respecting conscientious decisions. The conscience of people in congregations must be constantly strengthened through the commands of the Bible (e.g. against violence towards women). Churches must fundamentally take the side of the vulnerable.

Forgiveness

Nationalist thinking in Germany and Japan led to the Shoa, unleashed the Second World War and victimised many neighbouring peoples. Representatives from Korea reported poignantly on the particular consequences in their country. However, there are perpetrators and victims in every people and every church, but also a silent majority of spectators and fellow travellers. We are representatives of the generation of children and grand-children who have nothing directly to do with the criminals and wrongdoings of the Second World War or the Korean War. Nevertheless, we must take a position. After all, we are constantly confronted with the history of our fathers and mothers. We are responsible for seeing to it that no generation ignores the burden of history, seeking from ways out of the guilt of the peoples and churches through paths of reconciliation.

We are convinced that public confessions of guilt open up a new future for offenders and victims, particularly if they specifically name their guilt. We are convinced that those offenders who do penance, uncover their atrocities and provide compensation, will receive forgiveness from the victims. However, we are aware that offenders hesitate to take this step for fear of condemnation and a loss of honour. Often they can only confront their guilt and entanglement when they are offered a readiness to forgive. The strength of the victims is their willingness to take the first step towards reconciliation. We know that unconditional forgiveness is possible for individuals. For peoples, reconciliation needs to be organised in political and economic terms.

Inspired by the biblical story of the encounter between Jesus and Zacchaeus (Luke 19: 1-10) we are convinced that the churches too cannot stand back as spectators. They must contribute to offenders and victims going towards one another, with the public recognising the suffering of the victims and the offenders being willing to tell the truth about their acts and provide compensation. In that way forgiveness can be enabled by reconciliation offered by the victims.

Compensation / reparation

We think that reparation between offenders and victims is basically impossible. Victims and survivors need a clear statement of truth and the possibility of working through their history; equally, they need material compensation, as far as this is possible at all. Compensation can help to prevent a repetition of evil. It is undeniable that compensation contains the risk of being misused to terminate the discussion. The restoration of human dignity is likewise of great importance. Hence we also call upon ourselves to bring the truth to light and call the people to remembrance.

We Christians from three countries invite the Japanese government to apologise immediately to the victims and proved compensation. We therefore also support the Tribunal for the Comfort Women in December 2000 in Tokyo.

These assignments will change the relations between peoples and also our own lives. They are part of the ecumenical and missionary role of all churches.

Conclusion

We request our churches in Korea, Japan and Germany to work locally for the remembrance of history and the transmission of insights gained thereby to the next generation.

We therefore request our congregations to work for a situation where the wrongdoing, which in some cases has only just come to light, is not repressed, and call upon them to seek solutions in cooperation with the responsible politicians and citizens' action groups.

We request our churches not to overlook the first-hand witnesses and to seek further opportunities for exchange and encounter between the three countries, in order to responsibly involve young people in the questions that concern us.

We likewise request the churches in our three countries to work at all levels for the reconciliation between North and South Korea that began in June this year.

The conference took place on the initiative of the German East Asia Mission, the Tomisaka Christian Center (Japan) and the Korean Theological Research Institute (Seoul).

16 September 2000

The EMS-CSI Joint Consultation on Violence and Reconciliation.
November 21-23, 2001 at Tamilnadu Beach Resorts, Mahabhalipuram.

STATEMENT AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE CONSULTATION

I. Introduction: The Context and the Purpose of the Consultation.

Global terrorism and strike against it is occupying the headlines of all news and newspapers today. Violence is on the increase all over the world especially in Middle East, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan etc. It is a global reality. Though we speak of one global village, yet we are living in a fractured world. All scientific, technological, educational and medical advancements have not reduced the acts of violence. September 11, 2001 stand as a dark landmark in human history of violence. The CSI-EMS conference on violence and reconciliation in India has been very timely and appropriate. It has been an occasion for understanding why violence takes place and how we could overcome it.

Violent conflicts take place at many levels and for different reasons. Often they are linked with issues of justice. Violence is a destructive culture. It has many faces. Human rights are denied to people both as individuals and as groups at various places and in various situations. They are world-wide phenomenon and India is no exception to it. Though violence is a worleld problem, our concern in this conference has been to concentrate on our situation locally both in the congregations of the church and communities in the society at large.

The participants of CSI-EMS Regional Conference on Violence and Reconciliation held at Mahabhalipuram, Chennai, from 21-23 Nov. 2001, included representatives from the CSI Synod, CSI Dioceses, theological colleges, ecumenical organisations; also representatives from the Orthodox Church, Mar Thoma Church, the Presbyterian Church in India, and others. We have realised and affirm that any act which threatens or violate life and human dignity, kills humanity and destroys the creation, is violence. It could be passive or active, aggressive or silent. It is built in into our social structures, religion and cultures, rooted in our selfishness such as caste prejudices, desire for power, gender bias, etc. Dalits, women, children and tribals, above all the poor, are the victims. Reconciliation is God’s historical initiative in and through Jesus Christ to restore all the broken relationships in the community. This has to be re-established with truth, justice and forgiveness, at home, on the streets, at work places etc.

We affirm the need for reflection and action for reconciliation. We realise that there have been strong Indian traditions to overcome violence such as Ahimsa (non-violence), Satyagraha (holding on to the truth), Mauna (the act of silence), Karuna (profound compassion), Ashrama way of life (life of renunciation), Niraharadhiksha (fasting), Shakaharam (preferring vegetarian food), etc. These traditions need to be re-emphasised and practised in today’s India.

II. Church´s Response:

  • Ministry of reconciliation at all levels of the church. As members of the church, we are all agents of reconciliation.
  • Church should continue to be aware of the social injustice and participate more vigorously in the social struggles of the people.
  • Gender awareness and gender justice should be included in the policies and constitution of all governing bodies of the church.
  • Conscious efforts should be made to include women in the liturgy and decision making process at all levels.

III. Proposals/Recommendations:

  • Formation of neighbourhood communities at the local levels with representatives from all communities.
  • Awareness-building programmes at the congregation level through contextual interpretation of the word of God.
  • Initiate issue-based dialogue at local level with all communities.
  • Initiate inter-religious programmes and activities.
  • Effective pastoral care and counselling and Christian education in the congregations.
  • Peace negotiations to be initiated by the church in the places of conflict.
  • Strategic planning for alternative sustainable human development programmes.
  • Initiate Department for Peace Concerns at the CSI Secretariat to coordinate and foster initiatives for peace and reconciliation in the communities.

November 23, 2001.

Results and Recommendations
of the regional consultation of the Indonesian partner churches of the Association of Churches and Missions in South Western Germany (EMS)

From January 27-31 2002, we - the delegates of the nine partner churches of the EMS in Indonesia - held a consultation in Tomohon, Minahasa, with the topic "The church in overcoming violence and creating reconciliation“. We listened to various lectures, shared experiences as well as opinions and studied the Bible together. We also had the occasion to visit refugees from Ternate and Halmahera in camps in Manado and Bitung, where we were able to enter into direct dialogue with victims of riots and violence.

In the course of the consultation we became aware that

- a culture of violence has already deeply permeated various basic foundations of human life and of the whole creation;

- the church exists in the midst of a world full of violence, but often does not pay attention to it; moreover it is unconsciously involved in the culture of violence;

- violence has caused a human crisis manifested in the form of poverty, suffering, hunger, refugee displacements and many life casualties;

- many cultural symbols participate in giving motivation to perpetuate the culture of violence and militarism within the diversity of Indonesian cultures. Each and every tribal culture in Indonesia has its "war dances" and „the sword“ as important cultural elements.

- the perpetuation of the culture of violence in Indonesia is also supported by the news reports of the mass media, by various means of entertainment, by electronic games, and by disciplining society with militaristic methods.

- a deviating and random interpretation of certain passages of the Bible has produced a narrow-minded fanaticism which legitimises the use of force.

- Women and children are the main victims of acts of violence. Cultural and religious legitimation often contributes to the perpetuation of such acts of violence.

- the church has not yet completely fulfilled its prophetic task in overcoming violence and bringing reconciliation into reality.

We also understand that

- violence has increasingly become the main cultural instrument to settle conflicts, to force one’s own will, to perpetuate power and to maintain the status quo, to justify oneself and one’s own group based on tribal, religious or group identity, in order to defend one’s own or ethnic supremacy against others;

- the misunderstanding of the plurality of the Indonesian society seen from the point of view of tribe, customary law, religious and cultural tradition forms an ongoing potential for acts of violence.

- the culture of violence has become a part of many power structures within society, between gender relationships, religions, ethnic groups, internal relationships of family and clan, and in relationships between majorities and minorities, thus obstructing the realization of justice, peace and integrity of creation;

We as churches confess that

- we do not sufficiently heed the reality of various acts of violence within society which perpetuates the culture of violence on different levels, beginning from the family up to the state;

- we are not serious enough in leading church members and the wider society at large to create a non-violent culture by offering non-violent solutions for conflicts.

- we are not yet courageous enough to criticize and to correct the government in its failure to establish law and create justice and peace with the result that our Indonesian nation has sunk in the eyes of other nations and the international community.

- we are still not sufficiently capable of establishing justice, peace and integrity of creation.

We are seriously concerned

- about the fact that various conflicts in vertical and horizontal dimensions have taken place which resulted in prolonged riots in various places and with not a few human and material losses. A large stream of refugees flowed from the riot areas into the safe regions carrying wounds and traumas which form a potential for the perpetuation of the culture of violence in future times.

- about the behaviour of the political elite at different levels and of the security agencies which failed to support the people's trust in the supremacy of law to establish justice. On the contrary, frequently it happened that establishing the law was carried out without giving priority to justice and that establishing justice happened without giving priority to law. Mass violence and direct judgement of criminals by the masses happened everywhere with the result that the spirit of brotherhood on the level of society became drastically weakened.

- about the conditions in the field of education in general which no longer promotes character building and the planting of the feeling of humanitarian solidarity so that society is easily provoked and set on fire by emotion using violence as the means of problem solution.

- about the emergence of religious doctrines which fan the wind of narrow-minded fanatism and radicalism, an enemy to pluralism and diversity. How easily houses of worship have become targets of damaging and burning, moreover how easily acts of violence take place against people of different religions or beliefs;

- about the moral condition of society which the more corrupt and unjust it becomes, the more shamelessly it exploits and manipulates other people for certain specific and temporary self interests.

- about the destruction of social structures of society which obviously has happened through the uprooting of traditional local leadership patterns with the result that society turns easily susceptible to provocations and loses respect for fellow human beings of other ethnic descent.

- about the incapability of the government and the police forces to remove the circulation of narcotics and prohibited drugs which basically constitutes a form of systematic violence against the future of the younger generation of the nation.

- about the increasing flaring up of the use of terroristic methods in international relations which causes many victims among the civil population.

- about the ongoing violence against nature and the environment which increasingly weakens energy to support the environment for a sustainable future.

- about the fact of structural violence in international relations which results in an increasingly strong profit orientation rooted in the present global capitalistic world order.

- about the misunderstanding caused by the implementation of regional autonomy in Indonesia which forms a potential for the occurrence of violence from the side of the local population against those coming from other areas and against members of the local population of other ethnic descent.

Therefore, we would like to urge

- all people who are concerned about the declining state of humanity due to the reign of a culture of violence to participate in a movement and campaign against violence in order to create a culture of non-violence which promotes non-violent solutions of social conflicts;

- the government and state security forces of the Republic of Indonesia to give priority to the establishment of law and the endeavour to guarantee the validity of law to the population by taking firm measures against all rioters and transgressors of law, against corruptors and dealers of prohibited drugs and to prevent any kind of problem solving of criminal cases outside the legal procedure.

- the government to solve the problem of refugees in different regions of Indonesia. It truly constitutes an affront against the diversity of the Indonesian nation, if there are Indonesian citizens who - located in a refugee camp - cannot return to their native village for no other reason than for ethnic and religious differences, just as we experienced with refugees from Ternate in the cities of Manado and Bitung.

- the religious organizations and spiritual movements to become forerunners of the non-violent movement, beginning from the local context up to the international level. The image of religions as pioneers of peace and reconciliation should be implemented by concrete actions perceivable by the smallest units of society.

- the churches to review their theology, teaching, and methods of Bible interpretation which perhaps have actively or passively contributed to the perpetuation of the culture of violence within society.

- the churches to give priority to programs creating violence awareness and arrange training sessions in conflict resolution and reconciliation as a mutual endeavour to overcome violence and to promote life together in a culture of non-violence.

- the churches in the fellowship of the Association of Churches and Missions in South Western Germany (EMS) to show their ecumenical role by mutual efforts to overcome violence and to concretise reconciliation in different regions of the earth, wherever churches exist. The plurality and internationality constituting the ecumenical character of EMS form a very meaningful opportunity to create a network for overcoming violence and for reconciliation on an international level.

We concluded our consultation with prayer and the hope that the Lord God, the source of life and salvation for mankind and the whole creation, will help all of us in our various efforts to build a genuine humanity and a way of living without violence for which Jesus, the Christ, our Lord and Saviour, has set an example.

Tomohon, January 31, 2002

Translation from Bahasa Indonesia: Elizabeth Lempp

International EMS Consultation on Reconciliation held from 16 to 27 November 2002 in Hanover Park, Cape Town, South Africa
Final Statement

From 16 to 27 November 2002, at the invitation of the Association of Churches and Missions in South Western Germany (EMS) and hosted by the Moravian Church in South Africa (Evangelical Brotherhood in South Africa), 30 participants from Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Korea and South Africa met in the Maryland Conference Centre in Hanover Park, Cape Town, to share experiences in their efforts to work for reconciliation, to study the South African example in striving for justice and reconciliation, and to explore practical steps to overcome violence. The Consultation is part of an ongoing process in the EMS fellowship, preceded by regional consultations on reconciliation held in Indonesia, India and Japan, and is meant to be a contribution towards the “Decade to Overcome Violence”, launched by the World Council of Churches.

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The power of the past (Ez. 18: 1-4, 21-24, 30-32)

Steps to overcome violence ( 1 Sam. 25: 14-35)

Facing one's own guilt (Gen. 32:22-32)

Liberating forgiveness (Matth. 18: 21-35) Finding a new identity (Eph. 2: 11-22)

The vision of peace and justice (Micah 4: 1-8)

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“Love conquers fear” (1 John 4: 18) was the theme of the sermon at the opening worship, delivered by Bishop Ketut S. Ayub from Bali, Indonesia, recalling the horrific bombing in Bali on 12 October 2002.

We studied and shared the understanding of “violence” in different languages and cultures. We have learnt that in all contexts “violence” is never abstract, but means the affliction of pain to human beings, denying their human dignity and destroying both individual lives and communities.

Eight case studies focussed on particular areas of violence and conflict resolution in our countries of origin:

- India: Discrimination of Dalits and denial of human rights based on the caste system

- Jordan: Violence against women

- Germany: Conscientious objection and peace building

- Japan: Diversity of values and the “silent violence” in family life, especially suicides in conflict situations

- Ghana: Ethnic conflict and conflict resolution in Bawku, Northern Ghana

- Indonesia: Ethnic-religious conflict and steps towards reconciliation in Halmahera

- South Africa: Violence in family life, violence against women

We have become aware that these case studies represent but examples and that violence is a multi-faceted reality in all our societies, including e.g. the discrimination of minorities, the suffering of refugees and migrants, poverty and a widening gap between the rich and the poor.

Symbols of reconciliation from all eight countries were presented and introduced.

Studying the South African context in the Western Cape played a central role in the conference:

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Lectures were given on the apartheid past and on present challenges, on the "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" (TRC) and the theological understanding of reconciliation, on the role of the churches, on conflict resolution and on the inter-contextual transfer of experiences.

Small groups of participants visited six centres and NGO's actively involved in grass-roots work to overcome violence:
- The Treatment Action Campaign on HIV/AIDS in Khayelitsha
- The Institute for the Healing of Memories for traumatised victims of apartheid
- The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children in Athlone
- The People's Centre Manenberg
- The Refugee Forum in Wynberg
- The Cape Town Inter-faith Initiative
The Khulumani Support Group invited all participants to a public meeting with the presentation of the video "We Never Give Up" on victims of apartheid demanding reparation and recognition.

A "township tour" and visits to the District Six Museum and to Robben Island provided insights on the legacy of apartheid and on the commitment to reconciliation that was shaped on Robben Island.

The Moravian Church in South Africa organised encounters with local congregations through worship services, a cultural evening and discussion programmes.

The following findings are a result of an intensive process of studying together, listening to each other and sharing with each other:

1.We are faced with different forms and at times a different understanding of violence. We are however aware that violence is in our midst, even within us as individuals and as churches, and that we are part of violent situations as victims and as perpetrators. In our efforts to overcome violence we share many common concerns, e.g. domestic violence, violence against women and children, denial of human rights through discrimination and through poverty, ethnic and religious conflicts with socio-political and economical root causes. We see the need to prioritise steps to prevent conflicts by peace education and awareness building and to overcome violence, within the framework of the Decade to Overcome Violence and beyond.

2. We realise that there is a need for further clarification of the theological understanding and the political dynamics of processes of reconciliation:

- There is no stereotype for the understanding of reconciliation, but there are rather different approaches at different times. However expressions of confession, repentance, restitution and forgiveness are integral elements. Emphases on these acts can differ from situation to situation.
- Reconciliation is a process dealing with the past and moving towards the future. It is not an end of a process, but a commitment to an unfinished agenda. Reconciliation can also mean to celebrate imperfect solutions.
- Reconciliation is a give and take process. It requires negotiated solutions which do not leave behind winners and losers. Reconciliation is inclusive. If certain parties in a conflict are ignored, the conflict won't be resolved.
- One side has to take the initiative in conflict resolution. The gospel encourages us to take the risk of doing the first step. Thus churches can act as facilitators and mediators.

3. We see the need for intensive dialogue with other initiatives and organisations to understand different steps to overcome violence.

4. Reconciliation is a learning process. We see the need to invest human and material resources in learning and training processes on conflict prevention, on conflict resolution and on reconciliation.

5. Healing of memories is a unique manner to overcome violence and pain on both sides, the victim and the perpetrator.

6. Grass-roots initiatives, NGO's and their networks are vital elements of hope. Churches ought to co-operate, on local community level and by networking.

7. We need to promote acceptance, understanding and respect for diversity.

8. Reconciliation and overcoming violence require a clear commitment towards justice, peace and human rights.

With the following affirmations and recommendations we have identified areas of action in our churches, communities and societies.

Affirmations and Recommendations

Based on our findings during the Consultation,

we affirm:

To commit ourselves to the vision of justice and peace, as laid down in the Scriptures. Thus we commit ourselves to playing the role of a prophetic voice in our churches and societies, being aware of the violence prevailing in our midst.

This includes in particular:

 

  • to denounce all forms of violence;
  • to re-read the Scriptures contextually and to relate the biblical message to conflict prevention and resolution;
  • to promote inter-faith dialogue in pursuance of peace, justice and human rights;
  • to strive for restitution and reparation for victims of violence;
  • to strive for the eradication of poverty;
  • to counter the dehumanising effects of globalisation.

 

We recommend to our churches:

  • to provide space, time and resources for education and training programmes pertaining to awareness building,
  • to non-violent conflict transformation and to reconciliation;
  • to co-operate with NGO's and other self-help organisations and programmes at grass-roots level, where victims of violence participate as agents of change, and to support networks of such organisations;
  • to promote study and reflection on violence and reconciliation in theology and in different religious traditions;
  • to work towards the enhancement of values of human dignity and of community spirit, wherever the social fibre of societies and communities is threatened;
  • in particular we call on our churches to address the following issues of common concern:
    - domestic violence;
    - violence against women and children, especially sexual abuse, rape and prostitution;
    - religious and ethnic conflicts and their socio-political and economical root causes;
    - HIV/AIDS pertaining to prevention, treatment and advocacy work;
    - debt cancellation and reparation, with particular regard to the apartheid debts;
    - denouncing "War for peace" in conflict regions, e.g. Korea and Middle East;
    - casteism and racism.

We recommend to the EMS:

  • to make steps to overcome violence and to work for reconciliation a priority in the Mission Council's long-term planning of programmes and projects;
  • to provide a platform and a resource base for networking among all churches in the EMS fellowship in order to promote our common vision,
    in particular:
    - to promote advocacy on the issues identified;
    - to promote cross-cultural exchange, e.g., through team visits, regional consultations;
    - to promote gender mainstreaming in all churches in the EMS fellowship;
  • to see to the follow-up of the consultation and to foster the implementation of the recommendations;
  • to further develop the EMS website as a tool for exchange;
  • to work on a contribution towards the WCC General Assembly in 2006.

May God give us courage, strength, wisdom and determination in our commitment to overcome violence and to work for reconciliation.

Hanover Park, Cape Town, South Africa
26 November 2002

 

We are on a journey together towards an international ecumenical fellowship of churches and mission societies sharing our hope in the Kingdom of God.

Mission in the first instance is God's economy (oikonomia) for the world, in the act of creation, in the history with humankind, in Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Spirit. Our witness means our response and our participation in God's compassionate and transforming love.

The centrality of our faith is the Good News of salvation, of the fullness of life and the overcoming of death in Jesus Christ. The name of Jesus Christ means redemption, liberation, healing, reconciliation, justice, peace and hope.

The gospel concerns all dimensions of life. Therefore our witness is holistic. Proclamation of the Gospel, worship, prayer life, pastoral care, Christian education, diaconal service and the commitment for justice, peace and the integrity of creation cannot be separated from each other.

Our witness is based on faithfulness to the Gospel and on compassion for God's creation, particularly for all vulnerable and endangered creatures.

We witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ at all our respective places in an inviting and faithful way. The experience of being strangers to each other in encounters and in exchange across borders helps us to rediscover the Gospel in new ways.

We belong together in our partnership on mission. The polyphony and diversity of our witness in different contexts is something precious and at the same time a continuing mutual challenge.

Our witness finds expression in signs of living solidarity. As reconciling and healing communities we share life, also suffering. We strive for human rights. We also strive for a just community of women and men and in all generations.

In our witness we meet people of other faiths and ideologies with esteem, respect, empathy, the willingness to listen, and to live together as good neighbours in bold humility.

As a forum for ecumenical living in our common witness across borders our fellowship enables us to learn from each other, to encourage each other, and to challenge each other.

 

Adopted by the EMS Mission Council on 2 July 2003 in Chennai, India

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