Resolution on Following Christ in the Midst of Violence

We, the delegate body of the New York Mennonite Conference, gathered at Camp Casowasco from September 10-12, 2004, affirm the Mennonite Summary Statement on Violence and its calls to the church. We commit ourselves to follow Christ by loving our enemies, by practicing right relationships, by not returning evil for evil, and by journeying towards forgiveness and reconciliation rather than seeking revenge. As fears and painful memories arise three years after September 11, 2001, we pray that God will show us how to follow Christ in life and in death.

We acknowledge the complexity of the conflicts that surround us, at home and in the broader world. For all those caught in the web of violence, both perpetrators and victims, we pray for release and healing. We acknowledge that God is in control – God will work all things for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). We also acknowledge that God calls us to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with him (Micah 6:8). We commit to seek creative engagement in conflict situations in order to increase understanding and to model Christ’s way of peace. For those working in conflict resolution, mediation and restorative justice, including those working with Christian Peacemaker Teams, we pray for wisdom.

In particular, we pray for all those affected by the prolonged conflict in Iraq: for those who make decisions, for those who are ordered to carry them out, and for those who are required to endure their consequences. We pray for ourselves, too, when we, willingly or unwillingly—knowingly or unknowingly—pay for the very violence we deplore. May God have mercy on us, and show us a better way.

Our primary allegiance is to God. We pray that God will show us how to be good citizens of our country while being first and foremost citizens of the kingdom of God. When the demands of the state go against God’s way, we pray for the wisdom and strength to follow God’s way. We commit ourselves to share with our young people our Anabaptist Mennonite heritage of faithful martyrs, of conscientious objection to war, and of civil disobedience to demands of the state that run counter to our faith.

We ask God to strengthen us as we seek to follow Christ.

Resolution affirmed by Delegates, April 26, 2005