21 October 2010
Pastors learn how to minister to a nation at odds in times of trouble
The barrage of protests sparked by Tony Blair's autobiography 'A Journey' clearly demonstrates how the question of war can divide a nation.
In the light of the emotive response to armed conflict, how can church ministers address the question of war with their congregations?
Conscious of a range of different experiences and attitudes within their community, do pastors remain deafeningly silent or do they take a particular stand either in support for their troops or as a pacifist?
All these questions and more will be addressed at the War and Peace Symposium, hosted by the Evangelical Alliance with Oak Hill College, a bible training institute in London.
The day is primarily aimed at church pastors who have struggled to know how to preach, teach and pray about war, beyond interceding for the safety of their members who are on active service.
Dr Don Horrocks, Head of Public Affairs at the Evangelical Alliance, says: 'We will not be unpicking the rights and wrongs of the invasion of Iraq or campaigns in Afghanistan. Rather we will be exploring how churches and their leaders can faithfully minister to their communities during times of conflict."
Participants will discuss how a church can best serve a society that might include many who are against their country's decision to declare war or take military action but who feel responsible for it, as well as seeking to support those who have loved ones on active service.They will also explore the Christian traditions of pacifism, the theory of a 'just war' and the meaning of the word 'peace' in a biblical context.
The Reverend Mike Ovey, Principal of Oak Hill College, says: "For too long Christians have ignored serious discussion about war and peace. While churches are not typically in a position to declare their support for or opposition to a particular war or cause, this study day is aimed at pastors who simply want to do better."
Speakers include the Reverend Grant Ashton, Assistant Chaplain General (Operations and Training) for the British Army, and Canon David Porter, who is Director for the Centre of Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral. They will be joined by Dr Steve Holmes, lecturer in systematic theology at St Andrew's University, and the Reverend Stephen Gaukroger, Director of Clarion Trust International, a Christian charity working in advocacy in the UK and overseas.
The symposium is open to clergy, theologians and students as well as the general public. The event takes place on January 19, 2011, between 10am and 4.30pm, at Oak Hill College, Chase Side, Southgate, London, N14 4PS. Tickets cost £25 which includes lunch and coffee.
Book tickets by logging on to: http://www.eauk.org/slipstream/events/index.cfm
Tel: 07766 444 650
Notes to Editors
The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.