Just Peacemaking: Canadian Church Perspectives and Contributions

Tasneem Jamal Defence & Human Security

Report from Conference held February 2-3, 2012, Waterloo, Ontario

What is Just Peacemaking?
Contributed Papers
Organizing the Events
Join the Conversation


Waterloo was the setting for a gathering of Canadian church leaders to consider the challenge of just peacemaking, held on February 2-3, 2012.

Internationally renowned Christian ethicist Glen Stassen from Fuller Theological Seminary in California delivered a public lecture and responded to questions on the 10 practices of just peacemaking.

What is Just Peacemaking?
The two standard ethical paradigms for the ethics of peace and war are pacifism and just war theory. They both intend to prevent some wars or all wars. But they don’t focus our attention on how to prevent wars; they focus on debating whether war is justified or not. Recognizing a practical stalemate between the arguments for pacifism and just war, the theory of just peacemaking seeks to define and implement practices that prevent violent conflict and create peace (http://justpeacemaking.org).

The following day 25 church leaders from eight Canadian denominations met to share their insights and commitments to just peacemaking are rooted in particular traditions and official statements. Several case studies were presented to illustrate: the application of ecumenical and interfaith just peace practices to current Canadian defence and foreign policy (to mark our particular context), the impact and response to climate change, and the struggle for sustainable peace in the Republic of Sudan and the newly founded Republic of South Sudan.

Documents circulated in advance from the World Council of Churches (WCC) linked this Canadian discussion to the international ecumenical community’s consideration of just peace as we move toward the tenth WCC Assembly in Busan, South Korea in 2013. The theme for the Assembly is:  “God of life, lead us to justice and peace.”

This call is a concerted Christian voice addressed primarily to the worldwide Christian community. Inspired by the example of Jesus of Nazareth, it invites Christians to commit themselves to the Way of Just Peace.… Just Peace embodies a fundamental shift in ethical practice. It implies a different framework of analysis and criteria for action. This call signals the shift and indicates some of the implications for the life and witness of the churches.

(An Ecumenical Call to Just Peace, http://www.overcomingviolence.org/en/resources-dov/wcc-resources.html)

The February 3 symposium concluded with consideration by participants of a written statement drafted by an internal writing team to reflect the day’s discussion. This “Waterloo Statement on Just Peacemaking” offers a perspective on the contribution of Canadian churches to this vital area of church witness. The statement stands as a brief record of the day rather than an official document endorsed by the participants and the institutions from which they came.

A representative from each of the eight participating communions at the Just Peace symposium was invited to prepare a short paper. The papers provided are collected here, along with a written contribution from Glen Stassen on the 10 practices of just peacemaking, a Catholic view on just peace excerpted from the concluding document of the Roman Catholic–Mennonite dialogue (2003), and the Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change (October 2011). Also included is a list of symposium participants and the agenda for the day.

Contributed Papers
A Christian Reformed Perspective on Peace and War  
Canadian Quakers and “Just Peace”
United Church of Canada Seminar Presentation 
No War, Just War, Just Peace: Statements by the Anglican Church of Canada 1934-2004
Roman Catholic perspectives on peace 
Creating Peace: Unitarian Universalist Perspectives
A Contribution from The Presbyterian Church in Canada
A Lutheran Response to Glory to God and Peace on Earth: The Message of the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation
Response to: An Ecumenical Call to Just Peace
Just Peacemaking: The New Paradigm for Ethics of Peace and War by Glen Stassen
Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change
Waterloo Statement on Just Peacemaking: Canadian Church Perspectives and Contributions
Organizing the events
Nathan Funk from Conrad Grebel University College, Scott Kline from St. Jerome’s University, David Pfrimmer from Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, and John Siebert from Project Ploughshares worked together to organize the lecture and the Just Peace Symposium. A financial contribution from the Frank H. Epp Memorial Fund at Conrad Grebel University College defrayed many of the expenses. Dawn Touring Boyes, a Peace and Conflict Studies student at Conrad Grebel provided invaluable voluntary service in organizing the lecture and the symposium. Debbie Hughes and Wendy Stocker from Project Ploughshares looked after many of the practical details. Thank you.

Join the conversation
Members of the Canadian ecumenical community have a long history of working together in pursuit of just peace—with neighbours close at hand and those living around the world. It is important, however, to periodically stop and talk with each other about the theological understanding for this work that we share, despite some differences; how we struggle in and across our respective traditions to understand each other; and to review the practical responses or practices required to advance just peace in changing times. The Waterloo lecture and symposium offered an opportunity for just such a conversation.

You can join the conversation. Review the documents provided here and the links to related information. Use the comments section at the bottom of the page to keep the conversation going.

Bruce Adema, Christian Reformed Church in North America, Ecumenical Officer
Gail Allan, United Church of Canada, Ecumenical Officer, Interchurch & Interfaith
Stephen Allen, Presbyterian Church in Canada, Associate Secretary of Justice Ministries
Gianne Broughton, Canadian Friends Service Committee, Program Coordinator
Jeffrey Brown, Canadian Unitarian Council, University of Toronto chaplain
Lawrence Cumming, United Church of Canada, Project Ploughshares board member
Jim Davis, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, Program Coordinator
Donna Fitzpatrick-Lewis, Presbyterian Church in Canada, Project Ploughshares board member
Nathan Funk, Conrad Grebel University College, Peace and Conflict Studies professor, Project Ploughshares board member
Sheila Havard, Canadian Friends Service Committee, board member
Paul Heidebrecht, Mennonite Central Committee–Ottawa, Director
Jean Herzog, Alternatives to Violence Project, National Recorder
Michael Ingham, Anglican Church of Canada, Bishop, Diocese of New Westminster
Robert Kelly, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, Professor of Systematic Theology
Joy Kennedy, United Church of Canada, Poverty, Wealth & Ecology Program Coordinator
Liz Monteiro, The Waterloo Region Record, reporter
Peter Noteboom, Canadian Council of Churches, Associate Secretary for the Commission on Justice and Peace
David Pfrimmer, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, Principal–Dean
John Siebert, Project Ploughshares, Executive Director
Glen Stassen, Fuller Theological Seminary, Professor of Christian Ethics
Derek Suderman, Conrad Grebel University College, Religious Studies professor
Robert Suderman, Mennonite Church Canada, former General Secretary
Henriette Thompson, Anglican Church of Canada, Public Witness Coordinator for Social Justice
Mardi Tindal, United Church of Canada, Moderator
Dawn Toering Boyes, Conrad Grebel University College, Centre for the Study of Religion and Peace, student
Jennifer Wiebe, Mennonite Central Committee–Ottawa, policy analyst
Just Peacemaking: Canadian Church Perspectives and Contributions February 3, 2012

Sponsor: Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo, Centre for the Study of Religion and Peace
Co-Sponsors: Project Ploughshares, St. Jerome’s University, University of Waterloo, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, Wilfrid Laurier University

Keynote Lecture: Dr. Glen H. Stassen, Fuller Theological Seminary

Thursday, February 2, 2012, 7 p.m.
Siegfried Hall – St. Jerome’s University, Waterloo, ON
Seminar with Canadian Church Leaders
Friday, February 3, 2012
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Seagram Room, CIGI, 57 Erb St. W., Waterloo (the location of Project Ploughshares’ office)
This seminar for Canadian church leaders and church representatives will focus on just peacemaking and Canadian church contributions to international ecumenical discussions.

Registration 8:30 a.m.

Welcome and Introductions 9 a.m. 
John Siebert, Nathan Funk, David Pfrimmer

Issues/questions for consideration throughout the day’s discussions:
1. Is there an ecumenical consensus on just peace as the World Council of Churches hopes?
2. Does just peace provide a helpful framework for Canadian ecumenical work?
3. Is there a peculiar or unique Canadian contribution to the WCC just peace dialogue?

Church Leader Presentations – Panel 1 9:15 a.m.

Process: Each leader will be asked to speak for 10 minutes, leaving 30 minutes for questions of clarification and discussion. Small group discussion if time allows.

Anglican – Bishop Michael Ingham, Vancouver
Quakers – Gianne Broughton, Canadian Friends Service Committee
Christian Reformed – Bruce Adema

Church Leader Presentations – Panel 2 10:15 a.m.

Presbyterian Church – Stephen Allen, PCC national office
Mennonites – Jack Suderman, former General Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada
United Church – Moderator Mardi Tindal

Break 11:15 a.m.

Church Leader Presentations – Panel 3 11:30 a.m.

Lutheran Church –David Pfrimmer, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary
Unitarians – Jeffrey Brown, Unitarian Universalist Chaplain, University of Toronto

Lunch 12:30 p.m.

Reflection on discussion – Dr. Glen H. Stassen (he departs Waterloo at 3:00pm) 1:30 p.m. 

Case Study 1 2:00 p.m.

Process: Each case study presentation will take 10 minutes, with 20 minutes for small group discussion on the 3 primary questions raised at the beginning.

The Canadian political context for the pursuit of just peace – John Siebert, Project Ploughshares

Case Study 2 2:30 p.m.

Climate Change and just peace – Joy Kennedy, United Church of Canada

Case Study 3 3:00 p.m.

Pursuing just peace in Sudan – Jim Davis, KAIROS, Ecumenical Justice Initiatives

Break 3:30 p.m.

The Canadian churches contribution to just peacemaking and the World Council of Churches Assembly in 2013 in Busan, South Korea 3:45 p.m.

Process: Summarize discussion consider draft consensus statement.

Conclusion 4:30 p.m.

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