Mennonites call for action and prayer to end Colombia violence
Colombian Mennonites are calling on Christians of all traditions across the world to join them in A Day of Action and Prayer on Sunday 21 May 2006 to oppose the continual escalation of violence in their country.
The call grows out of the Summit of the Evangelical Christian Church for the Peace of Colombia held in February 2006, where delegates of Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Colombia (Colombian Mennonite Church) joined 100 church leaders of other denominations, representing more than five million Colombian Christians.
Their invitation reads, ìAmidst ... the ongoing ëcrucifixioní in Colombia, we find hopeful signs of new life and glimpses of the Reign of God. The accompaniment of the international community is an invaluable support to sisters and brothers here. Will you join us for this Day of Prayer and Action?î
The summit documentís purpose is ìreconciliation between all men and women in Colombia, a reconciliation that recognizes wrongs that have been done, makes reparation to the victims of crimes, and produces changes in those who perpetrated them."
The statement also requested the international community to examine their nationsí foreign policies to ensure that they promote peace and economic justice rather than encouraging armed conflict, specifically mentioning free trade agreements, Plan Colombia and the trafficking of arms and drugs.
Plan Colombia was developed by the Colombian government with assistance from the United States to address the country's most pressing challenges: violence, the narcotics industry and a flagging economy.
Churches represented at the summit committed to emphasize conflict resolution skills in pastoral training, establish trauma centres for the 3 million people displaced by the conflict and promote forgiveness, reconciliation and prayer.
The National Council of Churches USA ñ which brings together Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox and Black churches ñ is also backing the focus on Colombia on 20-21 May.
Also involved is Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), who came to international prominence over the recent Iraq hostage drama. CPT has operated a project in Colombia's Magdalena Medio region since 2001. The team's presence facilitated the partial return and reestablishment of war-displaced rural civilian communities. It now monitors the human rights conditions necessary for life with dignity.
More information and worship resources for the Day of Action and Prayer may be viewed through PeaceInColombia.org.
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