News Archives

WCC finds inspiration in King’s models of peace, justice

 


UMNS photo by Carol Fouke-Mpoyo/ NCCCUSA

UMNS photo by Carol Fouke-Mpoyo/ NCCCUSA


A World Council of Churches' worship service observing the Decade to Overcome Violence

WCC finds inspiration in King’s models of peace, justice

  Jan. 14, 2004

By Linda Bloom*

NEW YORK (UMNS) – The models of peace and justice created by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. are serving as inspiration for the World Council of Churches’ commitment to nonviolence.

According to Jan Love, a United Methodist and leader in the council’s 2001-2010 Decade to Overcome Violence, the connection with King became apparent with the decade’s focus on the United States during 2004.

The idea, she explained, is to recapture King’s “concept of the beloved community” and use his models of peace and justice as a way of promoting the decade to Americans. The theme for this year’s U.S.-based focus is “The Power and Promise of Peace.”

Kicking off the U.S. focus near the time of King’s birthday allows the churches to recapture the energy, inspiration and deep commitment that he brought to his crusade, said Lois Dauway, an executive with the Women’s Division, United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, and member of the World Council of Churches’ Central Committee. King’s birthday is Jan. 15, and the holiday will be celebrated Jan. 19 this year.

“One of the principal connections is that the churches, like Dr. King, have been engaged in the struggle to overcome violence for centuries,” Dauway told United Methodist News Service. “It’s an important legacy to carry on.”

King’s legacy was recognized during a Jan. 12 ecumenical worship service, sponsored by the Decade to Overcome Violence, at the Interchurch Center in New York.

The Rev. Otis Moss Jr., a friend and associate of King’s who serves on the national board of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change, spoke of the need to build a foundation for justice and peace through love, liberation and reconciliation. But, he added, “It’s a contradiction of life to try to put peace ahead of justice.”

Following King’s model, he urged the churches to work toward “building a new generation of prophets of justice, disciples of love, apostles of liberation, teachers of nonviolence and ambassadors of reconciliation.”

“These will not come automatically,” Moss said. “We have to take institutional and individual risks for this to take place.”

Like King, leaders must have the courage to lead, mold consensus and act at the risk of being persecuted, he added.

As with the voices of other prophets, the significance of the decade’s work may not be recognized until after it is over. “So may it be said, in years to come, that a decade against violence was the vision, the voice and the way of the 21st century,” Moss said.

During the worship service, the Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker, former chief of staff for King, was recognized by both the WCC and National Council of Churches for his lifetime commitment to seeking reconciliation and peace. Because of health reasons, Walker was unable to attend the service.

Goals of the Decade to Overcome Violence include:

  • Addressing the types of violence and violent acts, from local to international settings.

  • Challenging churches to overcome violence, relinquish any theological justification of violence and affirm anew the spirituality of reconciliation and nonviolence.

  • Creating a new understanding of security through cooperation and community rather than domination and competition.

  • Learning from the spirituality and resources for peace-building of other faiths.

  • Challenging the world’s growing militarization, especially the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

A committee is preparing a list of U.S.-based events during 2004. Previous years have focused on the Sudan and Israel and the Palestinian territories. More information is at the council’s www.overcomingviolence.org Web site.

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service writer based in New York.  News media can contact her at (646) 369-3759· or newsdesk@umcom.org. 

Ask Now

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.

First Name:*
Last Name:*
Email:*
ZIP/Postal Code:*
Question:*

*InfoServ ( about ) is a service of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add this address to your list of approved senders.

Would you like to ask any questions about this story?ASK US NOW


Contact Us

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.

Phone
(optional)

*InfoServ ( about ) is a ministry of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add InfoServ@umcom.org to your list of approved senders.