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Session C.9: Friday, 4:00pm-5:20pm

Panel Title: The Role of Peace Churches

'Keeping the Faith? Tracing the Struggle to Amplify the Peace Witness of Canadian Churches'
Paul C Heidebrecht (Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada) and Jennifer Wiebe (Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada)

2013 marks 40 years of ecumenical collaboration in Canada in the pursuit of peace and justice. Indeed, for our own organization, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), working through coalitions has been crucial for amplifying the voice of a relatively small peace church tradition in the effort to influence public policy debates. Issues addressed have included nuclear disarmament and conventional weapons conventions, debates over Canadian military intervention and spending, and grappling with peace-related initiatives in the Canadian government and the UN. This presentation will trace the emergence and evolution of ecumenical coalitions focused on the peacebuilding agenda over the past four decades. While there is much to be learned from this history of coalition work, we will argue that substantial changes in the Canadian political context necessitate a reexamination of past advocacy strategies in order to make a positive impact on government policies going forward.

'Remembering the War of 1812 in a Town settled by Canada's Peace Churches'
Arnold Neufeldt-Fast (Tyndale Seminary)

Remembering the War of 1812 in a Town settled by Canada's Peace Churches Memory itself is contested terrain,” write Jamie Swift and Ian McKay in their book _Warrior Nation: Rebranding Canada in an Age of Anxiety_ (2012). They argue that the Canadian government is attempting to “conscript Canadian history” in order “to establish war as the pith and essence of all Canadian history.” To achieve this goal, the government strategy is to “glorify wars” past and present, the authors argue, beginning with the commemoration of the War of 1812. This paper will examine a) how and why that strategy was displayed (May/June 2012) in Whitchurch-Stouffville, a community settled predominantly by members of three Canadian peace churches: Quakers, Brethren in Christ (Dunkers) and Mennonites; b) how members of those faith traditions were able to effectively challenge elected officials, and attract local, provincial and national media attention to their determination to remember "correctly;" and c) lessons learned for local peace advocacy.

'The Canada Story - Our National Narrative and the Churches' Contribution to Justice, Peace and Creation'
David Pfrimmer (Waterloo Lutheran Seminary)

The Canada Story - Our National Narratives and the Churches' Contribution to Justice, Peace and Creation. This paper will identify some of the national narratives that have informed the Canadian self-understanding. In the current global moment, countries are responding to some of the important currents that are shaping, reshaping and in some cases threatening existing national communities. Churches in Canada have played a significant role historically in building Canada. Working for justice, peace and the integrity of creation has been an important ecumenical hermeneutic for their work. At least four national narratives have also been important to this process of nation-building. This paper will explore these four narratives and their intersection with the churches prophetic diaconal work. It will try to identify some implications for the future both of Canada and justice and peace work that will be necessary.

'Keeping the Faith? Tracing the Struggle to Amplify the Peace Witness of Canadian Churches'
Jennifer Wiebe (Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada) and Paul Heidebrecht (Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada)