Historic Peace Churches to Hold North American Gathering

Church of the Brethren Newsline
“Celebrating the Church of the Brethren’s 300th Anniversary in 2008″
November 21, 2008

The three Historic Peace Churches are planning a meeting in Philadelphia, Pa., on Jan. 13-17, 2009, titled “Heeding God’s Call: A Gathering on Peace.” The meeting is by invitation, and is a joint effort of the Church of the Brethren, the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, and the Mennonite Church USA. The event is supported in part by a grant from the Shoemaker Fund.

Each sponsoring group will bring 100 delegates, with another 100 participants coming from other Christian denominations and groups outside of the Historic Peace Churches circle including member communions of the National Council of Churches. Participant-observers from the Jewish and Muslim faiths have been invited as well.

Participants will consider three focus statements: “Inspiring HOPE–remembering/reconnecting with our faith that peace IS possible,” “Raising VOICES–raising our voices to lament the terrible suffering and violence in the world and to witness to the possibility of justice and peace for all the world (near and far),” and “Taking ACTION–to make a new thing, to act in the world in ways that bring this reign of justice and peace ever closer.”

Events will take place at a historic Quaker meetinghouse, the Arch Street Meeting House located near Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The schedule will include worship, plenary sessions, workshops, and panel discussions focusing on the experiences of the Historic Peace Churches. A closing day of community action will be carried out with faith communities in the greater Philadelphia area, with a focus on ending gun violence and as a way to remember the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Vincent Harding, noted author and activist, will be a leader for the event, along with James Forbes, pastor emeritus of the Riverside Church, who will speak for the opening of the gathering. Plenary speakers are Ched Myers, author of “Binding the Strong Man” and director of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries, and Alexie Torres Fleming, founder and executive director of Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice in the Bronx, N.Y.

For more information, contact Phil Jones, director of the Brethren Witness/Washington Office, at pjones_gb@brethren.org.

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