All too often 'peace' becomes merely the absence of war, an aspiration beyond present circumstances, a limited discourse controlled by assumptions about the normality of conflict, or a moral choice alongside 'just war'. All these lazy or restrictive assumptions need challenging - and they are being, at the first global churches' and faith-conveyed peace gathering of its kind.
The International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) opened on Wednesday 18 May and concludes on 25 May in Kingston, Jamaica. Organised by the World Council of Churches and others, it is advocating peace and tackling war not just between and within nations, but for the planet, the economy, the community, for churches and religious groups, among secular forces... in every corner of life (large and small).
I had very much hoped to be there in person, as a participant and reporter, but life-circumstances determined otherwise. However, it is wonderful to be able to interact with this important gathering in so many ways. There is live web-streaming from Jamaica, two resources sites, Twitter and social networking, reports and features (published on Ekklesia and elsewhere), TV, radio and more.
Here's how you (and I) can keep up with the conversation about making peace a global concern in corner of life, rather than - ironically - a parochial one concerned with faraway places:
* IEPC resources page: www.protestantnews.eu/europe/8242 
* Live web streaming: www.overcomingviolence.org/ 
* An Ecumenical Call to Just Peace: www.overcomingviolence.org/en/resources-dov/wcc-resources/documents/decl... 
* All Ekklesia's material on IEPC: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/ipec 
* Twitter (www.twitter.com ) hash-tags: #iepc #peace
Ekklesia is running stories from journalist and regular contributor Stephen Brown in Jamaica, as well as official reports from the WCC and other commentary.
© Simon Barrow is co-director of Ekklesia. His long-delayed book, Threatened With Resurrection: The Difficult Peace of Christ is due out later this year.