Christians should be “reconciled reconcilers”, the Archbishop of Canterbury said this week as he launched the Reconciling Leaders Network (RLN) – a new international movement of peacemakers. The RLN will train “the next generation of leaders to be reconcilers within their churches, communities and nations,” Lambeth palace said.
In a statement, Lambeth Palace said that the new network “is mobilising and resourcing an international movement of mediators and reconcilers – both ordained and lay – to equip their local communities, churches and workplaces to serve in the midst of conflict.
“The network will equip experienced lay and ordained peace-builders to use their experience to resource the Church and mentor the next generation. It will also have a focus on supporting women in the midst of conflict in their vital roles as reconcilers.”
The network was launched at a reception in Lambeth Palace on Tuesday night, attended by around 150 guests drawn from the church, government, military, NGOs and community groups.
“What we’re doing with the Reconciling Leaders Network is saying to the world that hate is not necessary, essential, or always conquering,” Archbishop Justin said at the launch. “Hate is overcome in Christ, and if we work at this we can enable many places and many parts of the world to overcome hatred and violence – in families and at every level of human society.
“If the Church is to be convincing that Jesus came from the Father, died on the cross, rose from the dead, ascended and will return, if we are to have any authenticity in that, we must be reconciled reconcilers. We must be people who are completely reconciled to God – or en route; we won’t get there in this life – we must be reconciling to each other and, essentially, we must share that reconciliation with the world, so that they see what Jesus does to change lives.”
The Archbishop’s Adviser for Reconciliation, Canon Sarah Snyder, said: “Jesus calls us to love not only our neighbour, but ourselves, and our enemies. In doing so, he places a high bar on what reconciliation might look like in practice.
“When others see reconciling and reconciled relationships across risky borders, they are drawn to seek the source of reconciliation, to Christ Himself. When churches live out this calling, not only within their own congregations, but serving the wider communities around them, they are deeply relevant and attractive. Reconciliation, lived out, is an act of mission. And it applies to every one of us, whether serving cups of coffee, or mediating international conflict.”
The international banker and Christian philanthropist Ken Costa, has been appointed to chair the Reconciling Leaders Network. He said: “Reconciliation in our fractured world is the greatest call on the church today. It is at the very heart of the Christian faith and transforms how we live out responses to pain and injustice – recognising dignity in difference, humility in conviction and grace in constructive responses to conflict.
“Throughout their ministry, Justin and [his wife] Caroline have been, and continue to be, active on the front-line of reconciliation both internationally and domestically. We are delighted that the Reconciling Leaders Network will be building on the foundations they have already laid over many years.”