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UK News

How can Christians be peacemakers? Justin Welby launches film series on resolving conflicts

The Archbishop of Canterbury has launched a new film series that examines how Christians can help resolve conflicts and promote reconciliation in their everyday lives.

Through the series, 'Faith in a Conflicted World', the Archbishop teaches three habits based on the life and ministry of Jesus that reflect His call on us to be peacemakers. 

The films unpack the themes taught in the Difference Course, a five session course created by the Archbishop's Reconciliation Ministry team, that explores following Jesus in a complex and divided world, seeing transformation through everyday encounters. 

In the films, the Archbishop reflects on his personal experiences of conflict. These include his 2019 visit to the site of Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar. The Archbishop prostrated himself on the ground on the site where hundreds of unarmed Indian civilians peacefully demonstrating for independence were shot and killed by British troops in 1919.

In a statement the Archbishop recalled the moment when he laid stretched out on the ground with his face downward: "As I went to the foot of the memorial, I really wanted to be anywhere else, because it was so shaming and so horrible. And I was a senior Brit in these circumstances and that was all focussed on in on me as a symbol of that history. And so the only thing to do was to lie down, prostrate myself before the memorial, as a symbol of sorrow and grief, of being present with those hundreds who were killed." 

He also recounted training for ministry and the time spent on placement at a hospital where the chaplain's report stated a need for him to "learn to be present with those who are suffering. Like most of us, I shy away from suffering. Being present is just a difficult thing to do, but it's a reality."  

The first habit explored in the films is 'Be Curious' - seeking deeper understanding by listening to the story we don't know. The second is 'Be Present' - engaging authentically in our encounters, even when this is different or difficult. And the third is 'Reimagine' - inviting God to deepen our hope and expand our vision, finding hope in the places we long to see change.

The 'Faith in a Conflicted World' videos were recorded at Lambeth Palace in October 2020 in accordance with social distancing rules. The series lasts half an hour.

Justin Welby added: "I'm delighted to launch this film series. When we look around our world today, it may seem like reconciliation is an unrealistic proposition. But it is precisely when conflicts and divisions feel insurmountable, that the Church is called to be a reconciling presence. That does not mean that reconciliation and peace making are easy, nor that they are quickly achieved. Reconciliation is a journey: a long and rocky one, and few of us reach its destination in this lifetime. But it is a ministry that Jesus gives to us, and for that reason it is an indispensable part of Christian discipleship. 

"Through learning and adopting the habits that we see in the life and ministry of Jesus, we too can at times get a glimpse of what Christ meant when he said: 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.' I pray that this film series, and the Difference Course, serve as inspiration for people to explore their calling as peacemakers."


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