Given the significant role played by the young people in pursuit of peace in communities, the World Council of Churches (WCC) features reflections from eight young people from around the world in its new book Echos for Peace, addressing the issues of global peace, justice and nonviolence, launched recently at the meeting of Echos Commission on Youth in the Ecumenical Movement in Lebanon last week.
Echos of Peace is a collective work of essays by young Christians, who inspired by the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV) at the occasion of the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) focusing on the theme,
“Glory to God and Peace on Earth” share their journeys of peace, each in their own unique context.
As described by Nikos Kosmidis, editor of Echos of Peace, the book contains “stories that reflect the realities of millions of people around the world, many of which apply to youth: stories of violence in communities, segregation based on racial, religious or gender differences, stories about Earth’s desecration, …stories of economic crisis, imperialism, and stories of conflict among people, who are created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26)”.
By documenting the journeys of young people for justice, Echos of Peace affirms the crucial role of youth in peace-building as well as their potential as change makers. For Kosmidis, who is also a member of Echos - Commission on youth in the ecumenical movement, this book is a contribution by young people to the “pilgrimage of churches towards a world where God’s peace will prevail”.
“We offer this gift to all of you as we move towards the 10th Assembly of the WCC, which will place in Busan, Korea in 2013. It is our hope that this work serves as a bridge between the IEPC and the WCC assembly focusing on the theme ‘God of life, lead us to justice and peace’,” says Kosmidis.
Echos of Peace is the result of Echos involvement in the planning process of the IEPC. It was in their joint meeting with the planning committee of the IEPC in January 2010, in Ethiopia, where Echos initiated an essay contest inviting young people to reflect on the work of DOV and themes of the IEPC. The contest was officially launched in September 2010.
According to Jec Dan Borlado, also an Echos member involved in the selection process, Echos of Peace provides “a concrete response to the call for better youth engagement in ecumenical advocacy for peace. The process, which included an invitation to participate, the selection of outstanding contributions, and its production, was arduous yet worthwhile. Reading the thoughts from young authors helped us to learn a lot about peace and peace-making”.
According to Meenuka Amaratunga, the ecumenical formation sub group moderator of Echos, the book serves as a response to the need for more ecumenical formation resources for youth in the WCC. “This publication can be used for peace programmes and discussion sessions. We look forward to developing a second edition of this work based on feedback, which will serve as a much more interactive model”.