In response to requests from our area conferences, congregations and members for Mennonite Church USA to state our belief in God’s call to peace and to invite peacemaking actions as individuals and congregations, the Executive Board offers the statement below. It follows a letter to President Bush, in September 2002, signed by 17,000 members that outlined alternatives to going to war in Iraq, and a similar letter from the Constituency Leaders Council in March 2003. In June 2004 the Executive Board sent a pastoral letter to our congregations during this time of global turmoil.
This is our faith:
We believe that peace is the will of God. God created the world in peace, and God’s peace is most fully revealed in Jesus Christ, who is our peace and the peace of the whole world. Led by the Holy Spirit, we follow Christ in the way of peace, doing justice, bringing reconciliation, and practicing nonresistance, even in the face of violence and warfare. (Article 22, Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, 1995)
We believe that the church is God’s holy nation, called to give full allegiance to Christ its head and to witness to every nation, government and society about God’s saving love. (Article 23)
This is our hope:
The biblical vision is of a day when nations will no longer learn war (Isaiah 2:4, Hosea 2:18, Micah 4:3), a day when God will wipe away all tears and when death, mourning, crying and pain will be no more. (Revelation 21:4)
It is this glorious vision and the example of Jesus Christ that moves us, even now, to live as peacemakers in our world.
This is how we, as God strengthens us, choose to express our love:
- We will repent for ways we have contributed to this war;
- We will pray for peace, justice and reconciliation;
- We will renew our commitment to teach peace to every generation and to provide youth with meaningful alternatives to military service;
- We will support Mennonite Central Committee’s work in Iraq, including relief, development, and peace projects;
- We will encourage those called from our congregations to serve on Christian Peacemaker Team delegations to Iraq;
- We will offer our support to local military personnel and their families as they deal with the trauma of this war;
- We will reach out in friendship to local Muslims;
- We will join our voices with many other people of faith who are calling for our national leaders to end the U.S. military presence in Iraq, recognizing that such visibility is fueling a growing insurgency movement and adding to the daily suffering of ordinary Iraqis.
In all this, we seek to be that “city on a hill” which demonstrates the “way of Christ” and to faithfully call “the nations (and all persons and institutions) to move toward justice, peace and compassion for all people.” (Article 23, Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, 1995)