Historic Peace Churches Update
IN DECEMBER 2007 the third international conference of the Historic Peace Churches (HPCs) took place in Solo City on the island of Java, Indonesia. It was entitled Peace in Our Land. The HPCs are the Mennonites, the Church of the Brethren and the Friends. The first two gatherings, also under the auspices of the World Council of Churches Decade to Overcome Violence campaign, took place in Switzerland (2001) and Kenya (2004). Solo was chosen because it is where the Bali bombings of 2002 were planned but also it is the home of significant dispute resolution between Christians and Muslims.
The fourth and final conference will occur in the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean in late 2010. Devoted to the Americas, this conference will complete the round of gatherings before the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Jamaica in 2011. The Convocation will celebrate the achievements of the Decade to Overcome Violence which began in 2001. At the same time it encourages individuals and churches to renew their commitment to nonviolence, peace and justice. And one might add compassion. See the Conference website at: overcomingviolence.org
Each conference resulted in the publication of papers and other contributions. The Solo papers are in an advanced stage of preparation and will be published in the US in early in 2010 by Cascadia Publications.
Friends took significant roles in both planning, presenting papers, leading discussions during the conferences and editorially. Kenyan Friends hosted the second conference. Gerard Guiton (Australia YM) served on the Solo conference Steering Committee as vice-chair and as co-editor of the conference papers. The AFSC came to the table with funding for the first three conferences.
In June 2009 Gerard Guiton also presented an AWPS paper to the 50th anniversary conference of the journal Quaker Religious Thought, in Barnesville, Ohio. The paper described the wide range of activities of Friends in our region and well as the spread of Quakers country by country. Much consultation around the region went into the paper's preparation. AWPS and the World Office helped with Gerry's travel for which he is grateful.