The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) has contributed a statement in response to the United Nations’ New Agenda for Peace, an initiative of the UN Secretary General linked to recognition of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
“It is readily obvious today that we still have a lot of work to do to get to a peaceful world,” said Janet Epp Buckingham, WEA Director of Global Advocacy. “So it is vital that Christians affirm the important peace work of the UN.”
WEA Secretary General Thomas Schirrmacher stated,
“The WEA has, from its founding, engaged in peacebuilding, because Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, called us to be peacemakers everywhere. We have engaged in conflict resolution in many parts of the world for 175 years. I am glad that the WEA can contribute to the UN’s work with our statement on peace.”
The statement was drafted primarily by the WEA Peace and Reconciliation Network (PRN), a global network of Christian leaders committed to building capacity for peace in regional and local contexts. The PRN focuses on training, restoration, assistance, initiative and networking. As Phil Wagler, global director of the PRN, commented,
“The world needs the church sowing peace (Zechariah 8:12) and making peace (Matthew 5:9).”
Buckingham emphasized that Christians must not be absent from efforts to resolve international strife, especially at a time when armed conflicts all over the world are creating unprecedented numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons.
The WEA statement calls for special attention to the following issues as part of the UN’s peace efforts:
- Faith community participation
- Healing from trauma
- Peacebuilding education
- Investment in peacebuilding by government and business
- Publishing good news
The statement concludes,
“We encourage the United Nations to a collaborative and wholistic approach that does not ignore voices of faith but welcomes their contribution and participation as vital for the healing of the nations.”
Buckingham stated that although the WEA and its PRN do not intervene in domestic matters, they wish to support national evangelical alliances and other Christian leaders in becoming effective voices for peace in their own country.