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Synods Say "Yes" to Active Nonviolence
Lutheran Peace Fellowship

Ten ELCA synods voted to approve an LPF-sponsored resolution on nonviolence in 1998, and more are expected to pass it in 1999.

The resolution supports the Nobel Peace Laureates Appeal "for the children of the world." The Appeal calls for a Decade of Nonviolence in the new Millennium (2001-2010) "to teach the practical meaning and benefits of nonviolence in our daily lives in order to reduce violence and build a new culture of nonviolence."

"Peacemaking and peacekeeping start with each of us, in our homes and communities," says Bishop Don Meier, NW Washington Synod, which passed the resolution. "It's easy to say "yes" to a vote. We need to say "yes" in our daily lives." Bishop Maier has signed up for a 5-day peacemaking training in August sponsored by the Mennonites.

According to Nancy Miller, chair of the Church in Society Committee of the Allegheny (PA) Synod which also passed the resolution, "faith active in love means caring and advocating for our neighbor. For me, the heart of the LPF-drafted resolution is its emphasis on 'encouraging congregations to make a priority to teach, practice, and model nonviolence, both for their own members and in service to their communities.'"

"Recent reports of violence in our schools remind us that peace is not an issue that is 'out there.' It's something we need to deal with in our neighbor-hoods, schools, and churches --- and there's clearly much more that we can do," declared Rev. Tom Reuss, First Lutheran Church of Keokuk, Iowa. "I was particularly happy to see the number of Peace Laureates who thought this an important initiative to support."

Desmond Tutu, Mother Theresa, and Nelson Mandela are among the twenty Nobel Peace Laureates who signed the Appeal, the largest number ever to join together in support of any initiative. In December, the UN designated the year 2000 as "A Year for a Culture of Nonviolence." Forty nations have endorsed the Laureates' proposed "Decade for Nonviolence" which will be voted on this fall by the UN.

The LPF resolution cites Bishop Anderson's Initiatives to Prepare for a New Century which urges that "we redouble our efforts to aid children, youth and young adults at risk from racism, hunger, violence and poverty, both at home and throughout the world."

The LPF resolution and Nobel Peace Laureates Appeal were endorsed by these ten ELCA synod assemblies representing over 1500 congregations: Allegheny (PA), Greater Milwaukee, La Crosse Area (Wisc.), Metro Wash., DC, Minneapolis, Eastern North Dakota, NW Washington, Rocky Mountain, SE Iowa, and Upper Susquehanna (PA).

"We're heartened by this positive response," said Dr. Barbara Rossing, Assistant Professor of New Testament at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and chair of LPF's board. "We hope that an even larger number of synods will discuss and vote on this important resolution in 1999."

For a copy of the resolution and supporting resources, contact our office.

Back to the '98 Summer Newsletter

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