Reclaiming Gospel Nonviolence
In July 2017 a conference was held in Perth on the theme of the centrality of active nonviolence to Christianity. The Church of Scotland was one of the conference sponsors and the Church and Society Council was represented at the meeting.
The World Council of Churches recently commended the study and adoption of the principles and practices of active nonviolence, as the most legitimate and appropriate means of countering discrimination and oppression and of breaking the cycle of violence. Roman Catholic thinking is also evolving, most recently expressed in the 2017 Papal message for the International Day of Peace. The Anglican Communion in its marks of mission vows to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation.
The Perth Conference held at Kinnoull Monastary on Reclaiming Gospel Nonviolence looked at ways in which Christians and other faith communities are acting nonviolently, and also provided space for discussion and planning as to how people can act in Scotland so that Gospel nonviolence can become more of a reality for individuals, the church and our wider society.
You can watch the contributions from two of the keynote speakers:
John Dear was a Jesuit priest, and director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation USA. He was an active participant at the Vatican conference, and helped draft Pope Francis’ 2017 Peace Day message. He is an inspiring speaker, drawing on his life of activism and witness for peace, and his theological writings on peace, nonviolence, and social justice.
Lucas Johnson is general secretary of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, a Baptist, and has witnessed the work done by FOR and other groups around the world engaged in active nonviolence in countries riven by civil strife, including South Sudan and Colombia.
The conference was organised by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, in partnership with Justice and Peace Scotland, Pax Christi, the Church of Scotland and the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship, and with additional support from the Scottish Episcopal Church.