Women's Letter, Nr. 43, 2007, English

Dear reader,

In many of the partner countries of mission 21, the foremost problem is not interreligious but is rather intrachristian dialog. As a result of religious fervour and competition between mission societies and churches in the 19th century, Protestant churches in those areas are very much split. While in Europe religiously motivated wars and conflicts between denominations led to an ecumenical deportment, this way of handling matters has been uncommon in countries outside Europe. This is because historical development, pre-conditons and processes were different. The result is religious indifferences or even denigration between and among the denominations. This means that Christians do not live well together, but instead live alongside each other or against one another. The fact that this is the case within Christianity renders harmonic living among different religions more difficult. It is necessary, therefore, that dialogue and ethical cooperation be encouraged both within Christianity and also be extended to the interreligious domain.

If it does happen at all, the method of interreligious dialogue among women is the same world-wide. Often it has developed from practical engagement or necessities rather than from a theoretical process. Because women have in mind first of all life and the wellbeing of their families, especially in situations of crisis and conflict, it is easier for them than for most people to deal with other religions.

It is not the aim of our cooperation to reach the peace of a graveyard. Rather we aim at life and justice oriented peace as described in the book of the prophet Micha. Here the gods of other nations are tolerated, yet this does not weaken our zeal for and our search of our own God. "He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken. All the nations may walk in the name of their gods; we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever." (Micha 4: 3-5; New International Version)

There are examples of how interreligious and intrachristian co-operation has really worked out and still works: in Costa Rica towards economic justice, in Tanzania in solving conflicts and in South Korea in transforming society. These are contributions by women who are partners of ours.

For three more years mission 21 will work on the subject, Religions: sources of peace. This will be done in various dimensions and through various activities. In post colonialism, mission should free the approach of people towards other faiths and other ways of thinking. This is instead of the heavy approach of ignoring others or being afraid of them. Therefore, mission should no more be connected to forced proselytism. Yet, this does not mean that a person needs to have a weakened identity or conviction or to give up her or his faith. Whoever is happy with a steadfast faith can accept cultural and religious differences as enrichment rather than as threat.

It is my firm hope that our life as it is oriented in the inter/intrareligious and interdenominational dialogue of women will help to rid us of feuds and free us for trust in God. Thus we will be able to move forward ethically at a good pace.

I am happy that the newly elected continental women’s coordinators introduce themselves. Lucy Lie Tjioe Lan for Asia, Adu Kumi Felicia for Africa, Mirjam Ponce for Latin America and Nina Sahdeva for Europe share with us their visions according to their focal points and context. It is their cooperation that enables us to strengthen the women’s network. For this I express my sincere thanks.

Rev. Dr. Meehyun Chung
Basel, 30th April 07
[인쇄하기] 2017-10-30 14:18:27


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