May 13, 2009

Peace Education - What Can We Do?

We return to the little Church of the Brethren booklet, "Peace Education in Churches"* written over 50 years ago by Dan West and others. The concluding chapter asks, "What Can We Do?" While some of the language and specific illustrations have changed over since the 1950s, the basis of the suggestions are still helpful. These include:

(1) Set good examples of peace living and action

(2) Find a few other persons in your church who care about this vital matter and "pack a snowball" with them. Planning and praying with this group can develop the exact goals, the approaches, and the methods. Most all of them will need to be "custom built" to suit that local situation. But these things are constant in every plan:
  • Respecting every personality and trying to keep steady goodwill across all differences.
  • Taking honest looks at every honest conviction held by anybody in the church.
  • Doing something on this question for a part of every year and keeping at it - more than one statement or one program.
(3) Keep the "leadership team" growing ahead of the rest of the church. Some ways...
  • Private reading of helpful literature.
  • Taking in training workshops to broaden views and meet new people.
  • Trying to help other people move toward peace thinking and acting, both in the local church and in the community.
  • Offer service help on projects of goodwill and assistance in Jesus' name.
  • Promote examples of Christian living.
  • When the time is riple, the church can take official action to renounce war. But his negative action is effective only if there is a positive witness for peace and an action program to give it reality.
  • Pray for peace on earth - without ceasing.

* Peace Education in Churches was published by Brethren Service Commission, General Brotherhood Board of the Church of the Brethren in 1957 as a resource book for local church leaders.