Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
As minister of peace and justice for Mennonite Mission Network, I was honored to work with Sue Park Hur of Mennonite Church USA and Jes Stoltzfus Buller of Mennonite Central Committee on organizing Journey Forward: Peacemaking, a peace gathering before the start of MennoCon19 in Kansas City.
It had been many years since peacemakers from across the church had gathered. We felt the time was right as the church looks ahead to the Journey Forward. But we also felt this gathering needed to be different. Previously, the direction and scope of peacemaking flowed from church institutions and was adopted by local conferences, churches and peace groups.
Now we find a different layer of peacemaking working together—collaboration. Church institutions have gifts and resources to bring. So, too, do local church and constituent peace groups. The direction our peacemaking takes doesn't emanate from the top down, or from the bottom up. Instead, it springs from multiple sources. We should all seek to follow Jesus in a world that longs for peacemakers. Jesus leads us along beautiful and diverse paths—to new places and new relationships.
This new reality emerged clearly at Journey Forward: Peacemaking. The number of interests, issues and passions represented was inspiring. From issues like militarism to ecological justice, homelessness to complex geo-political conflicts, it's clear that Mennonite peacemaking has expanded dramatically.
The question that the Peace and Justice Support Network has been asking the past few years is, "What does a peace church look like in the 21st century?" What we saw at the gathering is, I believe, at least part of the answer.
A peace church in the 21st century should be built on symbiotic relationships. There should be no anxiety about establishing a homogenous approach to peacemaking. Every part of the larger church has a part to play. Even though the parts may have different focuses and methods, it will be permeated with a sense of community and closeness.
We will seek to continue and expand the conversations that started at Journey Forward: Peacemaking in the months and years ahead. I'm proud that PJSN was able to be part of making the gathering a reality.
And I'm thankful to you all for your support of PJSN that allows us to continue supporting and encouraging peace and justice across Mennonite Church USA.
Peace and Justice Support Network
By Jason Boone
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