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Risking Peace In A Violent World: Five New Peacemaking Affirmations

The five affirmations that frame the Risking Peace report come out of a discernment process begun in 2010 that involved about 100 congregations and presbyteries. The affirmations increase the PCUSA’s teaching of nonviolence for social transformation, while also recognizing how implicated most US citizens are in structural violence (the “isms”) and the violence of several long-term wars. The report includes a careful reassessment of Jesus’ nonviolence in relation to the Reformed tradition, Just War, and Just Peacemaking approaches. It is recommended for congregations renewing their commitments to peacemaking in light of the increase in military and surveillance activity and spending since 9/11/01. The commitment of the church to peace and reconciliation has a central role in Christian vocation. For Presbyterians, it is a matter of creedal standing, briefly yet powerfully set forth in the Brief Statement of Faith (1991) cited above, and outlined at greater length in The Confession of 1967. Wording from both confessions is echoed in the title of this report. We acknowledge not only a “fearful” but a violent world, even as we hear God’s call in our time to take new risks to challenge our country’s over-reliance on military might and under-investment in “the things that make for peace.” Thus the title invokes The Confession of 1967’s prophetic phrase: “This search [for peace] requires that the nations pursue fresh and responsible relations across every line of conflict, even at the risk to national security, to reduce areas of strife and to broaden international understanding” (Book of Confessions, 9.45).”