Quakers will take part in a meeting of the highest governing body of the World Council of Churches from 31 August – 8 September, in Karlsruhe, Germany.
Although the Friends World Committee for Consultation is not a member of the WCC, Friends are permitted to send observers, and have a say through the ‘confessional family’ of peace churches.
The first World Council of Churches Assembly, which took place in 1948, declared “War is contrary to the will of God”. To prayerfully affirm the permanence of this message, a group of Christians will carry a banner 480 kilometres by foot to Karlsruhe ahead of the Assembly.
On the way, the pilgrims will stop at two military bases: Büchel Air Base in the Eifel district in the west of Germany, where nuclear bombs are stored in readiness to be flown to their targets by pilots of the German Luftwaffe; and Ramstein, which is a key NATO command and control centre.
Quaker peace campaigner Gordon Matthews, who has organised the walk, has said he hopes to talk and pray with people along the way about how God’s message of peace applies in the 21st century, and will keep a blog as he goes.
The Friends World Committee will be represented at the Assembly by Davorka Lovrekovic, nominated by German Yearly Meeting, who will also travel in the name of the Europe and Middle East Section. As full members of the WCC, Friends United Meeting, Friends General Conference and Canada Yearly Meeting will also be present, alongside other Friends serving in different capacities, and more than 4000 Christians from around the world. The theme is “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity”.