During May 18-20, 113 people, missiologists, bishops and pastors, civil activists, politicians and business people from twelve different Christian denominations from over 20 countries gathered together in the small republic of Moldova to engage in a dialogue around one of the most difficult and transforming issues of peace and reconciliation:
The consultation “The Church as an Ambassador for Reconciliation” was organized and carried out in partnership with INFEMIT and Micah Global with participation of PRN of the World Evangelical Alliance and Studio of Innovative Leadership. The aim was to explore the theological affirmation that the local Church is an agent of God’s genuine peace, and underline and learn from the good practice of three regions of the European Union, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
“In the very different contexts of countries within our regions there are so many good initiatives and practices that need to be explored in order to bring reconciliation into our divided communities, to bring light and divine transformation into people’s lives… That's why we have gathered here…” – Prof. Dr. Johannes Reimer pointed out.
Giving the fact that Eastern Europe and Central Asia have experienced numerous conflicts over the last twenty-seven years: ethnic, religious, inter-religious, inter-denominational, between churches of the same denomination, as well as large or civil wars, in many cases, churches became more concerned with self-protection and numerical growth, without proving passion for reconciliation and conflict resolution. Thus, in lectures and group discussions the speakers invited, Peter Kuzmic, Johannes Reimer, Sheryl Haw, Vladimir Ubeivolc, Fedor Raychinets, Ester Petrenko and Mark Sandberg, discussed subjects like "Mission and walking with God", "Integral Missions and Common Good", "Shalom – the goal of Missio Dei" and challenged the audience to seek a return to God’s original intent, to seek God’s righteousness and reflected the aspect of leadership, to get involved in the lives of the people around and to love them, being kind and leading them.
People once again reflected on God’s action of bringing ‘Shalom’ into His world, in the lives of the people, ‘Shalom’ which is not only an emotional state, but rather a state of mind – a way of living that challenges people to go outside and into mission. This is where Church comes in, as the Ambassador of Shalom, of Reconciliation.
Leaving the consultation, many missiologists, pastors, civil activists and simple church members identified themselves as missionaries, those who are ready to practice ‘Shalom’ inside and outside their homes, not only in ministry but also in their daily life. Moreover, the dialogue was able to engage peoples' potential and give birth to ideas of building various platforms and projects of taking local churches outside of the walls into the field of social tension and conflict, reaching out to people and fulfilling God’s mission.
Pastor of one of the Kyrgyz Churches Serghei stated: “I’m so glad that I took place at this dialog about God’s shalom. In our country for many years, people couldn't live in peace and no one can reconciliate them… And I understood that being open to integral mission, me personally and my church, can become a tool of God for transformation in our communities”
“It's not about ourselves, it's about other people, it is about our communities, it is about our Jesus Christ who proved that God’s presence brings change. That’s why we need to define again our identity in Christ alone…” – admitted Dr. Peter Kuzmic.
PRN, June 5th 2017