The looming prospect of a US led war against Iraq was much on the minds and hearts of Anglican mission leaders attending the "Transformation and Tradition in Global Mission" conference in Larnaca, Cyprus, 12-18 February. Although it was not on the agenda, the subject was discussed with real worry and some participants decided to draft a statement for the group to consider.
Most of the participants - though not all - subsequently signed on to the statement. The sheets of newsprint filling up with signatures from every continent - bishops, clergy, and lay people united in their passion for mission - presented a moving site in the conference room on the last day. While participants recognised that the conference has no official standing (compared with the Communion's recognised instruments of unity), they felt they could not in good conscience keep silent, said Ms Bobbie Moore of the Church of Ireland.
The text follows:
We believe that God has a love and concern for all peoples in all nations.
God is actively working for justice, peace, and the wholeness of all people everywhere.
Our commitment to share in this love and activity of God (which we call the Mission of God) has brought us together from more than 40 nations.
We are aware that by meeting in Cyprus we are not only in the Anglican diocese which includes Iraq, we are also in a nation which has recently experienced bitter conflicts and where the international community is attempting to achieve a peaceful resolution through the work of the UN.
We encourage the international community to support the UN in their efforts to find a peaceful and just resolution to the current situation in Iraq.
We support the calls for peace made by Anglican and other leaders within the Christian Church and in the world.
We have been praying for the leaders and people on every side of this conflict, as have Christians throughout the world.
We encourage the church to continue to pray in the confidence that God's passionate desire is for reconciliation, justice and peace.