The World Council of Churches has appointed a Mennonite as one of its observer participants in the next stage of a peace process addressing armed conflict in Colombia.
Fernando Enns, a theologian from Brazil and Germany, will be one of WCC’s representatives in Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s “Total Peace” policy.
A peace process signed in 2016 continues to advance. Petro’s plan to end conflict and improve rural security and development has used reforms, including several dialogues between the government and the National Liberation Army.
Over decades of violence involving government forces, paramilitary and guerrillas, the Mennonite church in Colombia has been accompanying victims, denouncing violence and calling for peace.
“Although Mennonites from Germany and the Netherlands are among the smallest member churches in terms of numbers, the international fellowship of churches honors our strong ‘peace with justice’ witness through the decades,” Enns said. “Mennonites represent an unbiased commitment to a Christian discipleship of nonviolent peacebuilding and reconciliation. We bear a great responsibility here.”
Enns directs the Center for Peace Church Theology at the University of Hamburg and also directs the Amsterdam Center for Religion and Peace & Justice Studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
MWC general secretary César García called Enns’ appointment “an acknowledgment of the theological and practical gifts of peacemaking that Anabaptist-Mennonites bring to the worldwide church and a recognition of the enormous impact that Fernando’s ministry has had in the WCC.”
Enns said his prayer is that international observers from the WCC and the United Nations will be able to support the commitment to “peace for all” in Colombia, which has experienced decades of armed conflict.
“May we be able to critically monitor the path of justice toward a sustainable peace, so that the process does not degenerate to a cheap reconciliation,” he said. “May we stay focused on the most vulnerable: the poor, the marginalized, the disadvantaged.”