In violent times, Christians are called to be salt and light, building and sustaining peace. But what sustains peacemakers in the midst of suffering and discouragement? This will be our theme as we reflect together on two major stories, in order to discern the spiritual practices that support a peaceful Christian response to violence:
This conference is being held to initiate an ecumenical study of the persecution and martyrdom of the sixteenth-century Anabaptist martyrs, the founders of the present day Mennonite and related communities. The conference will be the first time Catholics have publicly confronted these incidents, and the first time Mennonites have engaged in historical study of the martyrs in an ecumenical setting.
"Saint John's Abbey has learned a wrenching lesson from the unconscionable acts of some of its members," wrote Abbot John Klassen in June 2002. "As Abbot, my heart has ached as I have learned more from victims and therapists about the long-term emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual pain that is caused by sexual abuse."http://www.saintjohnsabbey.org/abbot/020607.html
"I have been shown unimaginable mercy by Iraqi and Jordanian neighbors these past few weeks," wrote Weldon Nisly (shown in photo) from Amman, Jordan last April. "How is it that so many who make claims to this same Jesus in my own country are so willing to twist the law into merciless bombs in a war waged on these merciful neighbors? What has happened to the soul of America willing to commit such war crimes?"
In early May, several Mennonites from the United States paused in the 16th century Church of Sant’Egidio in Rome. When Sant’Egidio was founded in 1968, its twin devotion to the Bible and the poor set the Community apart in Rome. Today, with 40,000 members worldwide, the Community has the support of Church leaders and has become a widely respected advocate both for the poor and for peace. Sant’Egidio had invited American Mennonites to visit their community in Rome after making contact through the Mennonite-Catholic Bridgefolk conversations in the U.S.
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