The full text of the statement is as follows:
August 28, 2012
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5.9
The representatives of the churches and ecumenical organizations that are part of the member churches and ecumenical organizations of the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI), the Peace Commission of the Evangelical Council of Colombia (CEDECOL), and the Ecumenical Network of Colombia, celebrate and give thanks to God for the announcement on Monday, August 27, 2012 that the government of President Santos and the FARC are working on a proposal to begin peace dialogues, which the National Liberation Army (ELN) could also join.
This announcement gives us hope that an end to the armed conflict that we have lived in Colombia for almost 50 years is possible, and we see it as an answer from God to our prayers, in which for many years we have asked that the Spirit of peace allow us to build spaces of dialogues to solve the conflicts by non-violent means and to make possible the bringing about of the peace that is the fruit of justice and the respect for human dignity, as proclaimed in the gospel. This implies confronting the root causes of the armed conflict so as to transform the mentalities and violent and excluding practices.
We recognize that to bring about peace by means of dialogue and political negotiation will not be an easy path, and so we encourage all the members of our churches and all the citizens to continue praying and working so that the interests of war and the violent are not imposed on the growing desires and hopes of peace among most of the Colombian people. This hope of peace requires of us that we work with patience and caution so that the wounds left after so many years of war may heal.
We ask our ecclesial families and the global ecumenical movement to accompany this initiative with their prayers and actions of solidarity. This way, their experience in the building of peace in different places in the world, will help in the peace process announced between the Colombian government and the armed groups of the FARC and the ELN, where we hope that the participation of the civil society and the churches be included in an intentional and active way.
Lutheran Bishop Eduardo Martínez President, CLAI-Colombia Roundtable
Mennonite Pastor Isdalia Ortega Secretary, CLAI-Colombia Roundtable
Rev. Nilton Giese Secretary General, CLAI
Rev. Antonis de Jesús Calvo Ecumenical Network of Colombia
Pablo Moreno Peace Commission, CEDECOL
Jenny Neme Peace Commission, CEDECOL
Photo: Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announcing proposal to begin peace dialogues (La Tribuna)