June 2, 2017
Witnessing to God’s peace rooted in justice ~ working together until it comes.
Testificando sobre la paz de Dios enraizada en justicia ~ Trabajando hasta que llegue.
Our Theological Statement
Scattered like salt across Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the United States, we are a movement of individuals and congregations from a wide variety of cultures and Baptist heritages, who share a common call to witness to God’s Peace—which is to say peace rooted in justice, this-worldly peace “on earth as it is in heaven.”
Since its inception as the Baptist Pacifist Fellowship in 1939, our organization has sought to build a culture of peace rooted in justice. Begun in response to the stated needs of conscientious objectors, as the Baptist Peace Fellowship it continued to address issues of war and injustice in the years following World War II. The current organization was founded in 1984 with the desire to provide international perspectives on peace and justice concerns by bringing together Baptist Peacemakers from four nations. Today, we come together from around the globe for peace camps, friendship tours, training programs and other activities.
We are not large in numbers, nor do we look to numbers for our strength, but we prefer to trust in prayer, truth and love. Our message is simple. Christ came not only to bring spiritual reconciliation but also to initiate a redeemed and healed social order, as he proclaimed at the beginning of his ministry:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because God has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
God has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of God’s favor.”
(Luke 4:18-19 GNV, adapted).
We are convinced Jesus came not only for personal salvation and the transformation of individual lives, but also to empower the poor, liberate the oppressed, set free the captive, and pronounce a new day of home and grace for all of creation. As we seek to follow Jesus, we take up this message of liberation and reconciliation. We give witness to the reality of this new creation in Christ, with our words, our actions and our resources.
We believe witness begins at home. We acknowledge and strive to overcome the histories of oppression, which have distorted life within our families and churches even as they have in our nations and the larger world.
We commit ourselves to listen to one another as we seek God’s guidance in scripture and learn one another’s stories and contexts. We also commit ourselves to work together in concrete ways.
We respond to Christ’s call to action. We employ the methods of nonviolent conflict transformation, negotiation and direct action as alternatives to violent conflict and war. We join our efforts to resist what Baptist minister and global peace advocate Martin Luther King, Jr. identified as the triumvirate of evil: racism, militarism and materialism. We understand this "freedom to struggle" to be the Christian vocation, for to respond to suffering which destroys humanity is to do God’s work in the world.
Trusting in God’s grace, we turn to Jesus' teachings for inspiration and as a guide to life. We learn from experience that following Jesus in the joyful path of peace rooted in justice calls us to risk, to sacrifice and sometimes to make challenging choices in our daily lives. We embrace this reality.
We know we are not alone in the struggle: The Spirit of God unites us; the crucified and risen Jesus walks beside us. Witnessing and working for peace rooted in justice is a journey of faith and love--it is a pilgrimage of grace.
The goals of our organization are threefold, to
- Gather together to mutually strengthen and support one another’s witness and work in international and regional gatherings which include community prayer, education, fellowship and song;
- Equip individuals, regional groups and congregations with tools for spoken witness and the hands-on work of peace rooted in justice; and
- Mobilize individuals, groups and churches, in response to pressing concerns—guided by the wisdom of those whose realities are local to the concern at hand.
We are committed to prayerful and equal partnership with Baptists who share our concerns around the world, as well as alliance with those of other traditions and faiths who are seeking peace rooted in justice.
How we live is as important as what we do! In keeping with our commitment to personal witness and shared work:
We strive, following Jesus,
to listen with openness,
speak with conviction,
receive hostility and return love,
break silences which harm,
resist cooperation with structures that cause hardship and suffering,
mend creation’s wounds,
offer hospitality to the refugee and the sojourner,
insist on human rights,
love friend and stranger, ally and enemy:
to point with our words, attitudes and actions
to the acceptable year of God.
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