Since the 1935 “Conference of Historic Peace Churches” in Newton, Kansas the Brethren, Friends, and Mennonites have shared the “historic peace church” label. This label served not only as a badge of distinction, but also as a shield of privilege and a form of accommodation with the war programs of the nation. Basically, this label said that these minority faiths were quaint, insignificant, and not a threat to the nation’s war efforts.
Becoming A Living Peace Church
With the Annual Conference Statements “Peacemaking: The Calling of God’s People in History” (1991) and “Call For a Living Peace Church” (2003), the Church of the Brethren put the world on notice that the “historic peace churches” would no longer be contained within the walls of privilege and accommodation. These boldly declared our intent for peacemaking to break out and infuse the entire body of believers in a “living peace church.” As we see other denominations and traditions also moving in this direction, we reach out for partnership and unity with all churches – remembering Jesus’ words, “Many that are first shall be last, and many that are last shall be first.”
Every Church A Peace Church
The noble “Every Church A Peace Church” experiment was an early attempt to embody this “living peace church” vision for all of Jesus’ churches. The new “Living Peace Church” framework and foundation for the On Earth Peace ministry represents another wave of peacebuilding that will keep surging onto the shores of Jesus’ church until it has soaked the entire body of faith with a shared commitment “to live and teach as Jesus lived and taught.”