The following statement was released today by the General Secretary of the Church of the Brethren and the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy:
“Whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith” (Galatians 6:10).
The Church of the Brethren is concerned with the escalation of warfare in Nagorno-Karabakh, the disputed region between Armenia and Azerbaijan. As a peace church, we lament the violence of war and work to end conflict globally.
In Nagorno-Karabakh, we are concerned about the deaths and displacement of civilians, the presence of proxy conflicts involving Turkey and fighters from Syria, and the unfettered arms sales into the region.
The Church of the Brethren feels a particular connection with the Armenian people and grieves the hostilities that are taking place against them as well as the violence affecting all peoples in the region.
We reaffirm our longterm support for the Armenian people, which began more than 100 years ago in 1917 during the Armenian genocide when Brethren began responding to the needs of survivors and refugees. That aid effort has particular significance for us, marking the start of our denomination’s focus on Christian service and disaster relief that continues to this day.
We reaffirm our cordial relationship with the Armenian Orthodox Church, and the personal relationships that have been built between our church leaders and leadership of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern). We are grateful for the friendship of His Eminence Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Ecumenical Director and Diocesan Legate, who has addressed our Annual Conference in recent years.
A statement made by the Church of the Brethren in 2015 expresses “our commitment to stand with targeted minority groups across the world and call not only for increased awareness of their persecution, but for renewed efforts by the church and the international community to build solidarity and protect minority religious groups who are under threat.” (www.brethren.org/ac/statements/2015-resolution-on-christian-minority-communities)
The Church of the Brethren joins the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) in calling on the United States to undertake diplomatic measures to halt the fighting, and prays with the NCC that the US Department of State will not be indifferent to this situation. (https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/ncc-calls-for-an-immediate-end-to-the-armenia-azerbaijan-conflict)
The Church of the Brethren joins the leadership of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in lamenting the tragic loss of life, expressing condolences to the grieving families, praying for the recovery of the injured, and expressing dismay at the aggressively partisan stance taken by the government of Turkey, which as a member of the Minsk Group should maintain a neutral role rather than that of an antagonist. We join the WCC in calling on all combatants to desist immediately from further military action and to return to the table of dialogue and negotiation. (www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/wcc-gravely-concerned-by-escalation-of-conflict-in-nagorno-karabakh-region)
“We who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members of one another” (Romans 12:5).
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