World Churches called to be 'Leaders in Peace'

 Can churches be peacemakers in a world racked by violence? This is the question to be addressed by the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev Dr Samuel Kobia at Washington National Cathedral, this Sunday, 16 December. "For too long the church has been a willing participant in the violence of the world", Kobia said. "Christ has called the church to be a peacemaker and a reconciler. This is not just a message for the season, but one the church must take to heart if it is going to truly minister to the world. The church must be a leader in peace." Kobia will be the guest at the Cathedral 'Sunday Forum', a 50-minute discussion hosted by Dean Samuel T Lloyd and open to questions from the public. Addressing 'critical issues in the light of faith', the forum takes place every Sunday in the nave at 10am, prior to the 11.15am service, and is webcast live on the Cathedral website (see below). Kobia is visiting the US from 12-18 December. His schedule in Washington DC includes a two-day retreat with heads of churches; an encounter with young ecumenical leaders (15 December); and preaching at Bethesda Baptist Church (16 December, 11:30). On 18 December in New York, Kobia will be guest of a Pan-Orthodox gathering hosted by Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, of the Armenian Orthodox Church of America, a member of the WCC executive committee and the president of the US National Council of Churches. One of WCC's commitment to peace-making is the Council's Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV) 2001-2010. A global church movement that strengthens existing efforts and networks for overcoming violence, and inspires the creation of new ones, the DOV is to achieve its culmination at an International Ecumenical Peace Convocation to be held in May 2011. In the three years prior to the convocation, international ecumenical teams called Living Letters are visiting churches around the world exploring how they are addressing peace making in their context. This September a Living Letters team visited several locations in the US, while in August another team visited Sri Lanka. Some forty additional visits around the world by Living Letters teams are to take place over the next three years.

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