The U.S. became the focus of the annual World Council of Churches’ Decade to Overcome Violence. A U.S. DOV committee, comprised of denominational representatives, will meet in New York this coming Monday, to dedicate 2004 to the movements for peace.
Under the theme, “The Power and Promise of Peace,” committee members will open the 2-day conference with a worship service, then will meet with an international advisory board to draw up a calendar of events for 2004. The Monday service, taking place at the Interchurch Center at 475 Riverside Drive, will lift up the legacy of Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr as a source of inspiration to the US churches.
Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr., a friend and associate of the late Rev. King will serve as the guest preacher for the event. The service will also honour a special guest, the former chief of staff to Dr King, Rev. Dr Wyatt Tee Walker, for his lifetime commitment to seeking reconciliation and peace.
This is the third year in which a particular region was targeted by DOV. Last year, the focus was placed on Sudan. The year before was Israel and Palestine.
The WCC Central Committee chose the U.S. as this year’s focus, for the courageous opposition of US churches to war in Iraq, and their efforts to alleviate suffering at home and abroad. The Committee also highlighted work by US churches on domestic violence, gun control and restorative justice.
At the same time, it evoked what it saw as the unchallenged power of the US. "The US administration" seems to believe that "it can afford to disregard the international order ... and ignore the concerns of the world's populations," the Committee said, also noting problems of "poverty, violence, racism in all its diverse forms, inter-faith relations, migration and inequality in education and employment".
Guest speakers for the conference are Dr Bernice Powell Jackson, United Church of Christ (USA), WCC Central Committee; Ms Jean Martensen, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, co-chairwoman, US DOV Committee; and Mr Tom Paxson, Friends General Conference, co-chairman, US DOV Committee.
A DOV-US focus poster on "The power and promise of peace" will be available as of next Monday on the DOV website: http://www2.wcc-coe.org/dov.nsf