Churches in the DRC embark on a Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace

by Patriarch Jean Baudouin Kayuwa Mikenyi last modified 27 May 2015 04:38 PM
Churches in the DRC embark on a Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace

Prayer service at Conference on Peace and Security in the DRC, Geneva, 27 May.

27 May 2015

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been experiencing great distress because of the armed conflicts over more than ten years, and its economic fabric has noticeably deteriorated as a result.

As we all know, unrest and insecurity are major factors in holding back development. Thus as part of its main mission, which is fulfilling the work of humankind’s salvation by Jesus Christ, who came that the sheep might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10), the church in the DRC has during this time been active in promoting the people’s well-being.

Thus, not wishing to be limited only to playing the role of providing help to victims, the church has committed itself to attacking the deep causes of the suffering and misfortune of the people and of assisting the country’s leaders to become aware of the role that they are called to play in ensuring the well-being and dignity of the population.

Thus the WCC member churches in the DRC sent a letter to the WCC’s general secretary in the run-up to the WCC 10th Assembly, requesting him to include on the agenda and mention in his report the crisis situation afflicting the DRC and seeking his involvement in finding ways and means to resolve the crisis.

The general secretary responded favourably to the request and recommendations were made and accepted at the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches at Busan, Korea, 30 October to 8 November 2013, the theme of which was “God of life, lead us to justice and peace”. At the Assembly the WCC invited us to join with all men and women of goodwill on a pilgrimage of justice and peace.

In this effort to seek peace, an agreement was signed by the DRC churches to set up a Commission for Electoral Integrity and Mediation (in French: Commission d’intégrité et médiation électorale, or CIME) as a platform for electoral information exchange and ongoing dialogue, with the aim of dealing, by mediation, with electoral tensions, before, during and after the elections themselves.

In order to accompany the DRC churches in accord with the resolutions of the WCC 10th Assembly, the general secretary, Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, paid a fact-finding visit to the DRC with a strong delegation from the WCC and the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), in order to see at first hand the suffering of the Congolese people. The delegation met the officers of the Independent National Electoral Commission, as well as the political and administrative authorities of the country, and organized with the member churches a national forum, 28-29 April 2014, with as its main theme ‘Reflection on rebuilding and rehabilitating community in the DRC’, so as to produce a strategic four-year plan to give substance to the WCC’s support to the DRC.

That forum thus permitted the church in the Congo to create a framework for the support expected from the WCC and the AACC and make recommendations to all involved in the economic and political and social life of the country, making them aware of the vast potentialities the country has and of the need to perpetuate peace and take advantage of the context of peace and justice the better to use them. That should enable a new context to emerge with the aim of effectively combating poverty and putting an end to the paradox of “a country rich in resources with a poor underclass”.

So as to implement the forum resolutions, a road map was produced and a working group set up, based in Kinshasa, to work with the support of another group of WCC experts, based in Geneva.

There was also held in Kinshasa, 8 to 10 December 2014, a workshop to evaluate needs and plan how to accompany the DRC electoral process. That workshop had a large attendance, from DRC churches, a WCC delegation, and several international partners at the invitation of the WCC.

The workshop produced a plan of activities and the need was emphasized to ensure that the voice of the churches was heard by the multinationals, who also bear a great responsibility in the suffering of the Congolese through their pillaging of natural resources. Thus was born the idea of holding an International Conference on Peace and Security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in Geneva, 27-29 May 2015.

Translated from French by the WCC language service. Download the original text in French (pdf).

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The impressions, hopes and ideas expressed in this blog are the contributions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policies of the World Council of Churches.

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