Rambling thoughts about a journey of justice and peace

by Stan Noffsinger last modified 16 March 2017 09:42 AM
Rambling thoughts about a journey of justice and peace

Enthronement Service of His Grace, Most Rev. (Dr) Chibuzo Raphael Opoko and one of the aircrafts of Air Peace. © Stan Noffsinger

28 February 2017

This afternoon is a down time. I'm sitting in the Nigerian sunshine at EYN Guest House in Abuja.  It is nice to feel the warmth of the sun. But moments ago, the tranquility was interrupted by a youth group singing below my balcony.

The spirit of the song accentuated with the rhythm added by clapping makes me feel as if the heartbeat of a people is shaking and stirring the air. It reminds me that I am in the midst of a journey of justice and peace.

It is the intersection of the work of the ecumenical church today meeting to hear the work of a people responding to unrest and violence in their nation, and the impact of interfaith work for peace among the people.  It is foraging a new vision out of violence which draws the best of faith and community together for the good of all, fully respecting each other.

This journey includes attendance at the Enthronement Service of His Grace, Most Rev. (Dr) Chibuzo Raphael Opoko as the Archbishop of Umuahia, an evidence of a church seeing a future and planning for it.

It also includes a journey into the Northeastern region of the country where violence has taken a heavy toll on Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN), the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), and yet this church community rose above the loss of loved ones, church buildings and homes, to serve all displaced by the violence.

Out of their experience of victimization came clarity for their beliefs as a peace church.

Travel is far easier here than it was in 2004 when I made my first visit to Nigeria. Air transportation makes the long miles pass quickly. Part of my trip was on a special airline, Air Peace. No kidding, that's the name of the airline.

On both legs of the round trip from Abuja to Owerr and back to Abujai, I had to smile. How fitting that a journey of justice and peace be accomplished on an airline casting a vision of PEACE, at least in the air. I mused that Anabaptist must own the airline as a unique way to share an Historic Peace Church tradition.

No, this is a commercial venture, secular in nature seeking to share a message of Peace. Every time they take off, they embark on a sort of pilgrimage of peace. What a message.


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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