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Churches call a gathering for peace

Philadelphia, January 6, 2009 – Three historic peace churches are hosting an ecumenical gathering here next week to stress the urgent need to work for peace in the world. 

The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends and the Church of the Brethren, both member communions of the National Council of Churches USA, have joined with the Mennonite Church USA to bring together an ecumenical group with this aim in mind. 

Heeding God’s Call: A Gathering on Peace will be held January 13-17, 2009, in Philadelphia. Registration is currently open, and more information can be found at  

“We feel the time has arrived for gathering communities of faith around the challenges of building peace in the world,” says Thomas Swain, who serves as the clerk (chair) of both Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and the Steering Committee planning the Gathering.   

A mission statement for the Gathering declares that the purpose is “to strengthen our witness and work for peace in the world by inspiring hope, raising voices, taking action.”   

Members of the Historic Peace Churches planning the event have a growing sense that the Spirit is stirring people of faith to renew, revitalize and bring together efforts to seek peace amidst the nation’s violent responses to international terrorism and the violence in institutions and neighborhoods. The planners believe people of faith must seek nonviolent ways to confront violence, terrorism and fear. The challenge is to find new ways to address violence through acts of goodness, compassion and honest efforts to understand and meet the legitimate needs of others. 

The conference will feature workshops by the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, NCC General Secretary, on the ecumenical basis of peacemaking; and by NCC Eco-Justice Program Staff Tyler Edgar and Jordan Blevins, looking toward a world without oil and examining how we can better live in relationship with Creation.  

“We are eager to bring together people from a variety of perspectives and experience, and explore together the many different ways the call to be peacemakers is being heard and followed, and together imagine and make a new thing!” says Therese Miller, the Gathering Director. 

Participants will return to their home congregations with a deeper commitment to God’s call to nonviolence and peacebuilding, renewed energy and more attentiveness to the Spirit that dwells within all, calling all to restore God’s world for all God’s children. 

Contact:  Liz Perch, Gathering Coordinator, 215 808 653 (cell), 267-519-5301 (voicemail),

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228,

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