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The Visible Hand

We have been hearing a lot, lately, about Interfaith Peacebuilding Initiatives (IPI) and the effort to bring together different faith communities in Ethiopia and around the world. A recent Memorandum of Understanding signed on July 24, 2008 states that

The Peace Council is established by representatives from Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Ethiopian Islamic Supreme Council, Ethiopian Catholic Church, Ethiopian Evangelical Mekane Yesus Church, the Baha'i Faith and Interfaith Peace-building Initiative ... It is also agreed by all parties that Interfaith Peace-building Initiative will serve as the coordinator of the newly established Peace council.

IPI, we learn, is a member of United Religions Initiatives (URI) and closely works with Council for a Parliament of the Worlds Religions. URI has links with United Nations organization and operates in several member nations. The Ethiopian government "through the Ministry of Justice and regional state authorities, continued to support the Interfaith Peace-Building Initiative."
So what do these groups stand for and what is the story behind their formation? How are Christians to relate to and work with such groups? Let us remember the church of Christ is called to peacebuilding. Let us also not forget Jesus is the Prince of Peace; peace is not an idea or a set of principles (no matter how noble that idea may be) but a person. Finally, the path to peace passes through the Cross and is mediated by the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please click on highlighted links in this post.