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Kinnamon, Forbes Open Peace Gathering
By Jordan Blevins
Philadelphia, January 14, 2008 – Heeding God’s Call: A Gathering on Peace, convened by the Church of the Brethren, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, and Mennonite Church USA, opened here Tuesday, seeking to raise voices, inspire hope, and take action.
More than 300 people of faith committed to working for peace in this world have come together to share in times of worship, hear from speakers and panels, and work together to bring a message of peace to the global community.
The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, USA, brought greetings of peace from the broader ecumenical movement.
“The church’s calling is to be a demonstration project of God’s gift of peace," Kinnamon said, "and the fact that Christians are so obviously fragmented and co-opted by the powers of the world is what drives the ecumenical movement … We are Christians: recipients of the gift of peace. We are Christians: called to be ambassadors of reconciliation by the way we live with one another. May it be so, even here, even now.”
The full text of Kinnamon's address is at http://www.ncccusa.org/news/MK.heedinggodscall.html
The Rev. James Forbes, former pastor of The Riverside Church in New York, preached at an opening worship service.
Forbes called on delegates to “count out blessings and sing praise…acknowledge our need and open our hearts to receive…and offer ourselves and our gifts to be part of God’s package of favors to those in need.”
The delegates to this conference, an ecumenical group representing more than 15 faith communities, will spend the next 4 days with one another in a combination of worship, plenary sessions, workshops, sharing in small groups, and panel discussions, and exploring the faith basis of their peace testimonies. They will raise up current peace work and witness; and examine how they might better support and engage each other in ongoing peace work, as well as in creating new opportunities to witness together for a more peaceful world.
The conference will end Saturday by engaging with the broader faith community in Philadelphia in a demonstration against gun violence in the city.
Jordan Blevins is
assistant director of the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice
program in Washington.
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