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MC Canada addresses peace event

Norm Voth addresses peace rally.
November 21, 2002

Winnipeg, Man.—Thousands of peace activists gathered in major centres across Canada on Sunday, November 17, to protest the possibility of war on Iraq. Norm Voth, representing both Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church Manitoba, delivered the following address from the steps of the Manitoba legislature to the gathering in Winnipeg:

"Greetings from the 250 congregations of Mennonite Church Canada, and Manitoba, 48 of which are located here in Manitoba. We represent a peace tradition and a history of seeking non-violent conflict resolution. We believe that peace is more than the absence of war. Peacemaking must include a response to the inequities of our world. We, who follow Jesus, feel called to resist the culture of violence and to be active peacemakers. We believe that God calls us give our very lives in pursuit of a world without war, a world of justice and peace for all creation.

Today we call our leaders to pursue peace everywhere, to reject military options as a way to resolve international conflict. In Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Columbia and in other places around the globe, people are living with injustice, fear, violence and bloodshed. We call on our leaders to seek peace and to pursue peaceful negotiations. We are asked to justify violence because of a fear of weapons of mass destruction. We call our leaders instead to divert resources currently being used for destruction and warfare into resources for building peace. We believe that offering crisis relief, development aid, medical and educational resources are ways to build peace and transform hatred and fear. We pray for courage and wisdom for our leaders to make choices that build a peaceful and just world.

Today we have the opportunity, and the challenge, to commit ourselves to use our best resources as individuals, as communities and as a country to seek peace for every human being. Today, as people of diverse faiths and races, we can demonstrate to the world that it is possible to live in peace, that peace is the essence of God's desire for all creation. Today we choose to reject all violence and war. Today we commit ourselves to building communities of justice and peace and hope. Let us choose peace and then give our very lives to pursue it.