The third Global Mennonite Peacebuilding Conference and Festival drew 160 people from 20 countries to Harrisonburg, Va., June 15-18.
“Coming Together: The Journey of Faith and Peace” was organized by Eastern Mennonite University and endorsed by Mennonite World Conference.
“The idea for this GMP was to bring together academics, practitioners, pastors and artists to share with one another how they are working toward embodying peace,” said conference organizer Andrew Suderman, an EMU professor and secretary of MWC’s Peace Commission.
“There’s something in the water among Mennonite theologians and peacebuilding scholars and practitioners . . . around the decolonial project that people are drinking from now that is interesting and quite good.”
Plenary speakers included Tigist Tesfaye, MWC Deacons Commission secretary; and César García, MWC general secretary.
García urged participants to bring together church and peace work despite the former’s past mistakes.
“Creating structures that are completely independent and separated from the church is an unnecessary detour that affects the impact of our peace witness,” he said. “The need of peace work that is theologically and biblically grounded is an ongoing reality in many of our churches and institutions.”
Activities included an art installation and four theater and music performances.
Music and peace came together, said Juan Moya, a member of La Repvblica, a band from Colombia that performed.
“I appreciated the emphasis on listening to and involving people from the Global South, who shared how peace is not only taught as a concept but also suffered, demanded and — for some — becomes a call to action in order to survive,” said Moya, who is Anabaptist World’s digital strategist.