As the theme of the 2011 Congress on Urban Ministry, Peacemaking in a Culture of Violence implies that violence doesn’t just exist on our streets but in our hearts, in our systems, in our public policy, and in the very way we live together as humans. To look at urban ministry as Peacemaking is to see the gift of the gospel as a great potential for effecting us in our everyday lives and in an increasingly globalizing web of inter-connectivity.
In a culture inundated and predicated upon violence, the ministry of Christians committed to social transformation must be seen from the viewpoint of peacemaking. To achieve this transformation, our presence in the world must be one that confronts instances and systems of violence with the powerful force of compassion. Compassion that seeks the holistic good of all people, that aligns itself with the boldest faithfulness of the traditions of Jesus, the early church, the prophets, and the Torah, will necessarily be one of peacemaking.
Peacemaking, then, is a deeply spiritual discipline by which our connection and rootedness with the Creator radiate through all levels of our existence and out into all of creation. As a spiritual discipline, peacemaking must become a part of the Christian’s life in a way which challenges boundaries and permeates all aspects of our daily living.