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Church forum promotes peace dialogue

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“I never thought I’d see the day when a soldier in uniform, a federal politician, and a representative from Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) shared the same platform on Sunday at an MB church!”

This was just one of the many positive comments Jericho Ridge Community Church (JRCC) received after hosting a community connections event entitled “Understanding Afghanistan” on Remembrance Day weekend.

On Sunday, Nov. 9, Jon Nofziger, MCC BC’s peace education officer, was joined by two army reservists from the Royal Westminster Regiment, and local MP Mark Warawa for a robust discussion on Canada’s role in Afghanistan. The church and community heard stories of soldiers recently returned from active duty, had a chance to ask questions of all participants, and enjoyed a luncheon following the event.

The event took place at R.E. Mountain Secondary School, where JRCC has been meeting since 2005. “We need to find non-hypothetical ways of exploring our historical Anabaptist peace position,” said pastor Brad Sumner. “We wanted to go beyond mere news clips or sound bites and have a real conversation on the problems and the signs of hope in the country of Afghanistan – and this panel discussion format with divergent opinions and backgrounds gave us opportunity to do so.”

As an integrated part of this dialogue, JRCC responded practically by collecting material aid for shipment to Afghani school children through MCC’s school kits.

Brad Sumner is pastor at Jericho Ridge Community Church, Langley, B.C. 

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