World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Theological reflection on peace

A theological reflection on cruelty - the ugly face of violence
Exploring responses in faith to institutionally and structurally embedded cruelty was the purpose of the theological consultation on cruelty that took place in Puidoux, Switzerland during December 5-8, 2006. Organized by the WCC and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), this gathering focused on cultures, traditions as well as social, economical and political structures that are themselves cruel, as well as creating an ethos that "enables" people to become cruel. Twelve case studies from different contexts and perspectives provided the basis for the debate. Some of these are about racism, casteism, patriarchy, xenophobia, terrorism and counter-terrorism, torture of prisoners, genocide, rape and sex trafficking, and occupation. Papers from this consultation will be published in 2008.
Affirming human dignity, rights of peoples and the integrity of creation - Rwanda, 2004
As part of the WCC's work on the Decade , this theological consultation, organized by WCC Faith and Order in Kigali, Rwanda (4-9 December 2004), was an attempt to discern what human dignity, rights of peoples and the integrity of creation mean for churches and the ecumenical movement as they attempt to counter the reality of massive abuse and destruction of life and its legitimization in the world today. It was also an attempt to do theology informed by the perspectives and experiences of the victims of violence.
Interrogating and Redefining Power - A theological consultation
If violence is an exercise of power over the powerless or a retaliation to such, what makes power prone to abuse? Why do people not only fear but also aspire for sources of violent power? Why do some religious traditions view violence as a divine attribute? How is power understood and exercised within our churches? What biblical and theological resources do we have to offer in the search for responsible new ways of understanding and exercising power? Interrogating and redefining power is crucial to our attempts to overcome violence.
Interrogating and Redefining Power - Consultation of Younger Theologians from the South
Taking place in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in February 2004, its purpose was to explore these theologians' distinct perspectives on power as people whose theology is shaped in contexts of intense struggles for life, justice and liberation.
Nurturing Peace, Overcoming Violence: In the way of Christ for the sake of the World
This text is an invitation to a process of theological study and reflection on Peace, Justice and Reconciliation to be pursued during the Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches Seeking Peace and Reconciliation 2001-2010. It forms a basis for Faith and Order's theological reflection on peace and issues of violence.
Realizing mutuality and interdependence in a world of diverse identities
A group of 20 theologians and peace activists from regions which have come to be known for violent conflict arising from the aggressive assertion of identities - Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philippines, DR Congo, Nigeria, Middle East, Eastern Europe - participated in this consultation in June 2005. They attempted to identify the problems in, and prospects for, realizing mutuality and interdependence in contexts of diverse identities in an effort to challenge the churches to consider this as a contribution to the wider movement for peace during the Decade Overcome Violence.
Reflections on the international use of power by the United States government
This paper was prepared in response to the US DOV Committee's invitation to members of US churches to select one of the four themes of the Decade and to reflect on it.