Peaceful on paper
Mennonite World Conference reports findings of Peace Audit
A report on the results of a recent Peace Audit of Mennonite World Conference member churches is now available on the MWC website (www.mwc-cmm.org). The report is based on the results of a 2011–2012 survey of MWC member churches, asking the question: “How is your church doing in its desire to be a Peace Church?”
The question was prepared by the MWC Peace Commission. It got written responses from 21 of the 100 MWC member churches – six from Asia and the Pacific, six from Latin America and the Caribbean (including the indigenous MB conference in Paraguay), three from Europe, and six from North America (including the U.S. MB conference). “The responses provide profound windows into the lives of these churches,” said peace commission secretary Robert J. Suderman.
“It is encouraging to see that MWC member-churches: a) are aware of their identity as Peace Churches; b) are creatively working at what this means in the many contexts we represent; c) acknowledge the challenges and complexities they face in their efforts to be obedient to Christ as disciples of the Prince of Peace; d) confess that there is a gap between who we say we are and what we do; e) clearly identify the need for support, especially in prayer and key resources needed,” writes Suderman in the accompanying letter.
He points to the vocation of peace outlined in Ephesians: a) Christ is peace; b) Christ creates a new humanity characterized by reconciliation – with God and with each other; c) the key “instrument” of peace experienced by Christ was an instrument of execution: the cross; d) as a reconciled people, we are a body with the ministry of reconciliation: in all we do; e) peace is the heart of the gospel we are called to proclaim and live.
The six-page summary and commentary is found on the Mennonite World Conference website. The commissioned concluded the responses “demonstrate both good and bad news.” The consciousness of being a Peace Church “is deeply embedded in the identity” of the respondent member-churches; however, there is a “pervasive complexity in moving from what is desired and written on paper, to becoming a bedrock part of the life of the Christian life and community.”
Suderman calls MWC churches to pray for each other, “knowing that we have distinct yet common challenges, and that we are committed to the same Prince of Peace as Lord of our lives.”