Former Archbishop to address Christian peace NGO

By staff writers
November 14, 2014

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams will give the keynote speech at the Centenary Conference of Christian peace NGO the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FoR) on Saturday 22nd November in Cambridge.

Dr Williams commented: “The gospels show us a Jesus who consistently rejects violence as a response to threat and aggression from those who oppose him. The challenge for those who follow Jesus is to go on imagining responses to such threats that do not simply create a new round of violence and insecurity. This is what FoR has been committed to since its beginnings – the transformation of our human environment by acts of risky and generous imagination; and it is as important as it ever has been to have such a witness in our world.”

The theme of the gathering is Faith and Peace, and in addition to Rowan William’s highly anticipated address, an interfaith panel will debate how faith influences attitudes to war and peacemaking.

Participants will also be treated to an excerpt about Muriel Lester from Stone Tales, a play devised and directed by Alexandra Carey. FoR’s 40-foot “Drones Quilt”, made up of up the names of civilians killed by drones, will also be on display. It is touring the country initiating comments like, “This happens in our name; forgive our apathy.”

Richard Bickle, chair of FoR, says: “As we reflect on 100 years since the outbreak of WWI, it seems the need for peace and reconciliation is more pressing than ever. The sprawling forces of today’s conflicts often cite religious motives to justify their actions, and governments ordering bombings don’t reflect Christ’s love. So I’m delighted that FoR’s Centenary Conference will explore the vital topic of 'Faith and Peace' – how we can draw upon the peacemaking strand in all faith traditions as a tool for practical peacemaking.”

This is not FoR’s first Cambridge conference. In 1914, a group of people from all over Europe met in Constanz, Germany, to prevent WWI. When war broke out they had to return home; those from England reconvened the conference in Cambridge and the Christian pacifist FoR was born.

FoR members will be coming from around the country and the event will engage a new generation of people in active nonviolence, particularly at this time of high military spending and easy conflict through increasingly advanced weapon systems. This is one event of many celebrating 100 years of FoR’s work.

* The conference will take place in Cripps Court Conference Centre at Magdalene College, Cambridge, on 22nd November 2014. Places can be booked via FoR’s office: 01865 250781 or online: www.for.org.uk/centenary

* More from Ekklesia on peacemaking out of Remembrance here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/remembrance

If you would like to support Ekklesia's work on remembrance and war, you can do so through our annual appeal here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/21032

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