We, the delegates to the triennial meeting of the Anglican Peace and Justice Network in Geneva, Switzerland, have spent the week of 14-20 March 2010, exploring issues of human rights and examining the role of the United Nations, the World Council of Churches (WCC), and other faith-based and humanitarian organisations in upholding the rights of individuals and communities throughout the world.
Embedding our learning and discussions in a theology of justice as right relationship with God, with one another, and with all Creation, and in the Anglican Five Marks of Mission, we have focused on international laws relating to particular themes, including:
We express our profound appreciation for the commitment of the Anglican Communion and its member provinces which supported the participation of approximately 30 persons representing 25 provinces or jurisdictions, together with a representative of the Old Catholic Church of Switzerland.
We particularly record our appreciation of:
Recognising that there are universal concepts of justice, and humbly conscious of our own internal divisions, we encourage our churches to be sensitive to peoples’ struggles in society, and to be aware of what international agencies are doing to protect and care for all God’s children in our regions. More particularly, we urge our churches to incorporate issues of justice into missional work and into theological education at every level
Even as we met in Geneva, seemingly insulated from the violence and despair prevalent in so many parts of the world, we were reminded of the dangerous realities to be faced when news came of the murder attempt on Bishop Martin Barahona of El Salvador, Primate of the Anglican Province of the Central American Region. We give thanks that he escaped injury, and pray for the swift recovery of his driver who was wounded. May God bring healing to all victims of violence, and may we never forget those who have given their lives in the search for peace. We urge our churches to condemn violence whenever and wherever it occurs.
During our time together this week we have valued the opportunities to complement the global inputs by sharing our local perspectives and initiatives in our provinces. We are exploring ways to increase communication regarding specific challenges and opportunities for solidarity.
During the meeting, alliances were strengthened and plans were made for addressing specific concerns. For example, the representatives from the Nippon Sei Ko Kai and the Anglican Church of Korea invited colleagues to share their opposition to militarisation in the region during the Japan Peace Week and a Peace Conference in Okinawa in June 2010 (continuing the focus of the TOPIK, or Towards Peace in Korea, consultation in Seoul in 2007). The African delegates shared their intention to bring APJN matters to the next meeting of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA).
We hope many of our provinces will be able to send delegates to the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Kingston, Jamaica, 17-25 May, 2011, a culmination of the WCC Decade to Overcome Violence which will seek to strengthen churches’ commitment to just peace and processes of reconciliation.
We welcome the growing recognition by some of our speakers and other contributors to the meeting that faith-based organisations can be important partners in tackling some of the issues and situations they address, not least because of their grassroots presence and knowledge of the local community and context.
We recognise that the Anglican Communion has the potential to engage more deeply with many human rights issues and challenges through education, pastoral care and advocacy, and through appropriate collaboration between the official Networks of the Communion and the Anglican United Nations offices in New York and Geneva.
We celebrate the fact that several other official Anglican networks sent representatives to be with us for this learning experience in Geneva, including the International Anglican Women’s Network, Anglican Health Network, Anglican Indigenous Network, Anglican Francophone Network, International Anglican Family Network, and the Anglican Refugee and Migrant Network.
It was clear to us all that many issues of injustice and conflict which are of shared concern among the Networks - as well as Anglican leaders worldwide - are rooted in the poverty and economic disparities that plague our world. Further conversation on this is one of several goals lifted up for attention in the next few years. Other subjects are a continuing examination of conflict and post-conflict situations; the socio-economic impact of unjust or irresponsible use of the earth’s resources as well as inattention to climate justice; human trafficking, and the plight of people on the move.
Recognising the great responsibility placed upon us by our provinces and our Communion to serve God’s mission by working toward peace and abundant life for all God’s people, we acknowledge with grateful thanks the hard work and visionary leadership of so many persons who have sustained the Anglican Peace and Justice Network for the past 25 years.
During the meeting in Geneva, we particularly remembered and commemorated the life and witness of Luis Osorio Prado, former bishop of Pelotas, dean of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil’s seminary in Porto Alegre, and founding member of APJN, who died 21December 2009. May he rest in peace, and may God grant the gift of peace to all in our beloved Communion.
|Photo Credit: Angela Daye|