"Among you, whoever wants to be great must be your servant" Reflections on Mark 10: 35-45
Jesus' response quickly puts an end to this misunderstanding. His response contains three teachings of great import which should also be addressed to us today:
First Jesus asks the disciples a question to remind them what he has just foretold. To do this he employs two images, that of the cup of pain and the baptism of suffering. He asks them whether they are prepared to suffer that which he must suffer. The fact that the disciples respond in the affirmative might surprise us, but nationalistic zeal was not rare in this area at this time. Jesus is not surprised either by this fervor. Nonetheless, in asking this question, Jesus has pointed out a critical truth: glory and a kingdom are at the end of this path, but at the end of a path that passes first through suffering.
And Jesus continues. Yes, suffering is a part of the life of a disciple. But this total relinquishing, this giving of one's self to the very last does not give anyone the right to any special favors. Jesus warns against the false image the disciples have constructed of him. He places himself with those who do not have the power to make decisions; he doesn't intend to seize power nor to designate who has the right to exercise power.
Finally Jesus specifies again that which he wishes the disciples to understand at this turning point in his life: "the recognized rulers lord it over their subjects... that is not the way with you". The expression in Greek designating the leaders and rulers is actually a cutting remark about this political class. The Greek says those who "appear" to lead; this could be translated as the "so-called" leaders and "so-called" rulers. With these sharp words Jesus wishes to catch the attention of his disciples chasing after honors and glory and get them to think critically. What is the reality behind the facade of "power" of leaders, these people who believe and want to give the impression that they have everything under control?
But Jesus isn't satisfied with giving ironic commentary on the image that the rulers foster and that the disciples are furtively eyeing. He zeros in on the way that these so-called leaders govern: they lord their authority over their subjects, they put them under a yoke, they dominate them. But Jesus says, "this is not the way with you". Among the disciples service and not domination should define relationships and Jesus himself is the model of behavior.
The difference between worldly kingdoms and the kingdom of God is not that the former are secular and political while the later is only spiritual and interior, rather the difference is to be found in the structures of power. In worldly kingdoms, the structures are domination and exploitation, in God's kingdom, service. The disciples, full of zeal, declare themselves ready to accept the cup and baptism of suffering but their request for positions of power and influence betrays the spirit of their longings and reveals how similar they are to the tyrants and exploiters whom they want to eliminate. Jesus' way is that of service for others, and the meaning of suffering of which he speaks is profoundly different from that which the disciples envision. For them it is a matter of a few heroic acts in order to reclaim the power that is rightly theirs and to institute a reign of justice. For Jesus suffering is a consequence of a life of service and for the healing of everyone and not a method of seizing power and dominating others.
The words of Jesus in this conversation with his disciples haven't lost any of their relevance. We, who for the most part live in communities or who are well-acquainted with congregational life or that of peace service organizations, are not in any way immune from the temptation that James and John, sons of Zebedee, faced. Of course, we don't have grand political ambitions; we are more likely to be involved in non-violent protest actions, prayers for peace or mediation training. And of course we try to strive for unity and consensus in the decisions we make. But how easy is it for us to practice mutual submission in our daily lives? Who among us is not forced to recognize in himself or herself the temptation of power ... Even here among us, we who wish to follow Jesus' path of non-violence, this temptation is ever present, even if it is perhaps more subtle or less visible than among those who have authority over us.
There is a fundamental analogy found in the James 4:1-6 between the conflicts in the world and the conflicts between the children of the Kingdom of God: what causes the wars? what causes the quarrels? Our desires and wants. The conflicts and fights which are tearing apart our world and sometimes our churches and communities also rage within ourselves. Jean Goss often said that the primary rupture is found within the heart of each of us. The book of James shows the roots of the temptation of power which are quite simply dissatisfaction and misdirected motives: "you pray from the wrong motives" and it is as if this passage is echoing the disciples' request, "we should like you to do us a favor".
The Gospel's alternative to this dissatisfaction, this desire for more which can never truly be appeased, is found in the Beatitudes: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice". Therein is perhaps a criteria for discernment in our relationships in our communities and in the church and for our action in the world in which we live: do we have a spirit of dissatisfaction, the desire for more, or do we hunger and thirst for justice as Jesus taught in the Beatitudes?
If I think about concrete situations in the life of our community, I have to admit that our discussions are more often marked by this dissatisfaction - with my place in the group, with the lack of attention paid to my ideas - than by the spirit of the Beatitudes, by this hunger and thirsting to realize not my dreams but rather the kingdom and justice of God. If we allow this spirit of the Beatitudes to act in ourselves - and thankfully we all experience such moments of grace - we can palatably feel our relationships untangle and the tension in the air dissolve, and it is like a foretaste of the Kingdom of God.
It is my prayer for each of us personally that in our respective communities, churches, organizations and work for peace we will be filled with the spirit of the Beatitudes so that, as Jesus said to his disciples, our way will not be that of the so-called leaders and those who believe that they rule this world. May the God of Peace make it possible for us, like Jesus, to have such a hunger and thirst for justice that we become each other's servant and servants to a world torn apart by battles for power. This path will not save us from experiencing suffering, but in turning upside-down the human model of games of power and prestige, it will permit the power of God to manifest itself among us and in our world.
Marie-No?lle von der Recke Trans: TRM
The changing face of coordination in Britain & IrelandThe past few months have been a time of personnel transitions for Church and Peace Britain and Ireland. Long-time Britain & Ireland Committee members Catharine Perry, Stephen Tunnicliffe and Alan Wilkie have all resigned after many years of service for health or personal reasons. Their contributions will leave a void that will be difficult to fill. We are thankful for the time and energy they have invested in C&P and anticipate continued contact with them.
The Committee for Britain & Ireland is pleased to announce that the Peace Witness & Action Section of Quaker Peace and Service has appointed Anne Marshall as its representative to the Committee. Ms Marshall's appointment is effective immediately until December 31, 2001. The other Committee members are John Cockcroft, Gerald Drewett, Tessa Hughes, Eleanor Kreider and Ursula Windsor. The Committee will be assisted by a new volunteer worker, Anne Malins (see introduction on page x). Mrs Malins' responsiblities include maintaining address lists, membership recruitment and liaison with the International Office in Laufdorf.
Minorities in Yugoslavia face conscription
The conflict in Kosovo is not yet a "war" in the politicians' language. Therefore it is the police's duty to solve it. However, whether they are taken to Kosovo as policemen or soldiers is irrelevant for those men in Voivodina who are called for "mobilisation exercises". The Alliance of Hungarians in Voivodina challenges the Voivodinians to civil disobedience. This means hundreds of men called refuse to show up in the army but have to fear conscription. Many of them leave their homes and hide.
Laci Lajos Balla is a representative for all those minorities in Serbia who do not want to get involved in any armed conflict but are denied this basic right. He says conscription of the different minorities stirs up the existing nationalistic tensions and promotes a war that will affect the whole area. The Alliance provides advice and support to those men who refuse to go into the army, although Laci himself has been called and has to fear a strident response from the army to his refusal.
The topic is being discussed continually in the Hungarian media. BOCS, Alba Kor, Liga Against Conscription and other peace NGOs try to support Voivodinians and other minorities in their efforts to defend themselves and the whole area from a new widespread war. Conscription is one of the main factors they blame for worsening the situation. In their petition they ask for the help of European governments, organizations and churches in order to ensure security for the civilian population and to abolish conscription in the area.
Katalin Simonyi trm
Francophone office activities
In April I participated in a weekend of further education in mediation with Juan Jos, Romero of the Brussels Mennonite Centre. I have also been working for several years now with a group of persons who have done mediation training to establish a mediation centre at the CIARUS in Strasbourg. This should get off the ground this autumn and is an encouraging development.
Ricardo Esquivia of the Global Anabaptist Network for Peace and Justice visited a number of places in Europe in May, including Strasbourg. Ricardo is a lawyer from Colombia who is active in the human rights struggle in his country. The European Mennonite Peace Committee (EMFK), which is composed of European Mennonite peace groups from Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and France, invited Ricardo. Each of the EMFK member organisations hosted him in-country. I organised the programme for his visit to Strasbourg: two conferences, an interview and various meetings. It was a moving visit and gave the opportunity to meet a remarkable man.
Sylvie Gudin Poupaert Trans: TRM
Continuing on the Path of Reconciliation from Graz English-speaking regional conference
"An ecumenical seismograph for reconciliation" After a few brief personal remarks, Andrew Clark, Europe Secretary of Quaker Peace and Service, began his talk on Friday evening with some general theoretical and theological statements, in order to underline the urgency of Christian peace witness in our time. Using the scientific concept of the Big Bang, he proposed the concept of LOVE being already present in the infinitely dense matter which the Big Bang expanded into our universe and all creation. This, together with our realisation today that we face the ecological consequences of our exploitation of our planet, he described as "an ecumenical seismograph for reconciliation."
Quaker Peace & Service has an annual budget of ?1.2 million and 45 staff members and workers. Andrew gave a lucid and encouraging account of the valuable work the organisation and its members were doing, with examples from all over the world. He grouped his examples under three main headings: (1) peace in conflict societies e.g. in Zimbabwe, as a go-between for Mugabe and Nkomo, or between the warring factions in Sri Lanka. He stressed the need for helpers to "do their political homework" in order to be effective; (2) global causes of violence, using the US agro-business attempts to patent seeds developed in Africa as a potent example; (3) the culture of peace with justice. In this context, Quaker Peace & Service was campaigning for international legislation to raise the age for military service to 18, in order to do away with the scandal of child soldiers.
"To be reconciled is to be changed" Marie-Noelle von der Recke, Mennonite theologian and chairperson of Church and Peace, based her theological exposition on Saturday morning on five `key passages' from the NT for any consideration of reconciliation: Romans 5: 6-11; 2 Corinthians 5: 11-12; Galatians 3: 26-29; Ephesians 2: 11-21 and Colossians 1: 15-22.
Her commentary on these passages was lucid and detailed. In particular, she focused on the centrality of Christ in any understanding of reconciliation; it is Jesus who by his life and death reconciled and reconciles us to God. Marie-Noelle stressed the need for us to understand the tensions and conflicts in the early Church. She then set out what she termed Paul's five `paradigms' for true Christianity. The concept of sacrifice was only one of these - a point she felt was important to remember, as it is harder to accept now than in the context of the early church. In her conclusion Marie-Noelle pointed out that the word `reconciliation' contains the Greek idea of `change': to be reconciled is to be changed. And God does the reconciling.
Discussion groups and workshops After Marie-Noelle's speech we divided into ad hoc discussion groups to pursue further the issues raised by her and by Andrew Clark. I was fortunate in that my group had a more international flavour than some, including participants from France, Wales and Northern Ireland. It was particularly helpful to hear some first-hand accounts from Northern Ireland of just how difficult reconciliation is in a situation of almost endemic conflict.
Because of the smaller numbers than had been hoped, only four of the six planned workshops took place. These were "Jewish / Christian reconciliation" led by Sister Tessa Hughes from The Ammerdown Centre; "Theology of the Cross and Reconciliation" led by Marie-Noelle von der Recke; "Reconciliation: personal or public?" led by Tom Hannon from the Cornerstone Community in Belfast; and "Inner city communities and reconciliation" led by Rev. Michael Ipgrave of the Leicester Diocese Interfaith.
I attended Rev. Ipgrave's workshop. He spent time describing the ethnic composition in the city of Leicester, whose population includes significant numbers of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs as well as Christians. Mr Ipgrave felt that inter-faith relations were in general good, with few real conflicts. Where tension developed it often arose from outside events, like the situation in Bosnia, Israel or the Punjab. He reported that over the previous 10 to 15 years the ethnic groups had tended to establish their own geographical areas in the city. In the short discussion that followed he was asked whether he regularly - or ever - had visitors from other faiths sharing the worship in his own church. The reply was negative.
Others in the group commented on the interfaith situation in their own city environments - Birmingham, where the bishops had led moves towards reconciliation after the Gulf War, Bristol, where contrasts between poverty and affluence generated more tensions than racial difference, Bradford, where the `alien' tradition of arranged marriages was causing problems.
Between the discussion groups and the workshops there was an hour set aside for participants to share their own experiences of the need for reconciliation and their work towards it. This session, chaired skillfully by Eleanor Kreider, proved very informative and worthwhile, while not lending itself to any kind of realistic summary in a survey of this kind.
This can only be a partial and individual report. One of the benefits of a conference like this is that much of the most valuable work takes place in the various workshops and in one-to-one encounters; here one can only report on one's own share in such encounters.
Stephen Tunnicliffe trm
Play reading of "The Bridge" In lieu of a party on Saturday evening, a play reading of "The Bridge" was arranged by its writer and musical composer, Stephen and Hilary Tunnicliffe. "The Bridge" is social critique which depicts a conflict between a rich land-owner and a band of gypsies. It was produced for the Second European Ecumenical Assembly in Graz last June. For the reading at the conference, the Tunnicliffes had to adapt the play which had been a multi-media production in Graz. Hilary and Sarah Dodds provided live music for the evening performance. A group of conference participants was recruited to read the various cast parts. trm
Pax Christi and WCC Urge Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
Pax Christi also recalls the words of Archbishop Renato Martino, Permanent Representative of the Holy See at the UN, in his speech to the 1st Committee in October 1997 : "Nuclear weapons are incompatible with the peace we seek for the 21st century. They cannot be justified. They deserve condemnation. The preservation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty demands an unequivocal commitment to their abolition".
Pax Christi applauds these prophetic words and joins in calling upon the nuclear weapons states to renounce their outmoded and destabilising doctrine of nuclear deterrence - a doctrine that today is impeding the progress of peace and threatening to ignite a new arms race by providing the rationale for modernising the deadly arsenals already in existence.
Instead, Pax Christi calls for negotiations to begin on a Nuclear Weapons Convention, parallel to the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions, to outlaw these weapons completely. To achieve this, Pax Christi believes that all nations have a role and responsibility. We must not allow the nuclear weapons states to frustrate the will of the vast majority of the nations of the world as expressed in UN General Assembly resolution 52/380. This resolution calls for the development of a Nuclear Weapons Convention to fulfill the International Court of Justice's 1996 interpretation of Article VI of the NPT "to bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects..."
Pax Christi International press release April 1998 trm
Copies of the statement "Act Now for Nuclear Abolition" in its entirety are available from Pax Christi International Rue du Vieux March, aux Grains 21, B-1000 Brussels, Tel: +32 2 5 02 55 50
"Towards a Europe for Justice" Publication of European Kairos Document
In 1988 Christians in Central America took up the idea of the South African Kairos Document and drew up a Central American Kairos Document. In it they criticized the collaboration of Ronald Reagan, US President at the time, with the various military dictatorships in Central America. Secret documents published at a later date would confirm that behind this cooperation was a strategy of all-out war against the poor.
Not much later a joint document was published by Christians in the Philippians, South Korea, Namibia South Africa, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala with the title "The Road to Damascus - Kairos and Conversion". This document was a call primarily to the churches and Christians of the North to critically consider their participation in an unjust global economy and its related ideologies and to work for just, equitable standards worldwide.
In 1989 during the First European Ecumenical Assembly, Christians from different ecumenical groups in Europe heard this call and formed the European network Kairos Europe. This network is the main initiator of the European Kairos Document under the guidance of Heidelberg theologian Ulrich Duchrow.
The goal of this document is to promote a socially just, life-sustaining and democratic Europe in order to prevent the development of a deregulated, free world market that would divide our society into polarised groups of the poor and the wealthy. Churches, faith communities, trade unions, grassroots organizations and individuals are called to form coalitions to work for the realisation of the Kairos Document.
Church and Peace played an advisory role in the development of the document. Marie-No?lle von der Recke and Christian Hohmann signed the Kairos Europe document at the request of the Administrative Committee. Members and friends of Church and Peace who have signed the document include: BOCS Foundation and Gyula, Katalin and Cecilia Simonyi in Hungary; ?kumenische Gemeinschaft Wethen, Hofgemeinschaft Guggenhausen, and Quaker Alfred Naumann in Germany; Grandchamp Community and Retreat Center in Switzerland.
Following is an excerpt from the second part of the document in which the churches are challenged to develop a prophetic theology in that which concerns the global economy.
Christian Hohmann trm
3. Superficial reconciliation in church theology.
The south African Kairos document identifies the most common weakness of what many churches offer: cheap reconciliation without truth or justice. >From a supposed position of neutrality the churches attempt to issue balances statements, in order not to fall out with any side. Or they remain silent if there appears to be the risk of potential conflict with those in power. Solidarity with the victims is in words only, with no active involvement.
The central point is as follows. The main churches have incorporated into their statements the particularly emphasis of liberation theologies, that faith in God as presented in the Bible includes a "priority option for the poor". However the church does not recognise that this official theological position demands a clear "No" to neoliberal structures and policies that favour the rich. So the church does not in effect reject the capitalist world market system, out of which arise so many injustices that the church does criticise. (In the joint statement of the German churches, the concept capitalist is carefully avoided) And even if, in rejecting a "pure market economy", the churches had intended to condemn this world capitalist system, they still are not naming the parties and governments which fly the flag of neoliberal policies. Certainly, most of the established political parties have adjusted to the structures of the world market. Nevertheless the driving forces can be named and those inn opposition can be called in be effective in that role.
To give another example, the churches say "Yes" to a sustainable farm based agriculture, but do not say "No" to agribusiness. Without the "No" being clearly defined, resistance cannot grow, the structural change will continue and the "Yes" remain ineffective.
We call upon the churches not to avoid conflict with money and power. Reconciliation can only be real and can only grow on the basis of truth and justice, if the real conflicts of interest are tackled, and not avoided. In particular, it cannot grow where lies, semi-truths and repression are commonplace.
The Kairos Europe Document in its entirety can be ordered for ?1,50 from Kairos UK c/o Grassroots, 15-17 Chapel Street, GB-Luton LU1 2SE. Tel +44 1 582 416946.
EuroSatory Arms Fair Protest
Among the persons who came to demonstrate against this "fair" were Quakers and friends of the Community of the Ark as well as other members of Church and Peace. French Quakers have maintained a silent vigil during the EuroSatory for many years. Following are excerpts from French Quaker Yvonne Kressmann's journal during these days:
"This year over 200 people gathered for the non-violent action, mostly from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. ... The evening before the demonstrations, a Dutch member of the European Network Against Arms Trade gave an introduction to non-violence at the Assembly Hall for the participants.
When the EuroSatory began at 8 o'clock a silent group was already in place for a non-violent vigil. They were joined by Japanese Buddhists who chanted love mantras continuously during the two days of the demonstration. A larger group came later with flutes, whistles, pots and pans. They made such a racket that the police came and shut the gate. We divided into smaller groups to maintain a presence at the other entrances. That evening we had a long "lie-in" under the watchful eyes of the forces of order ... Twice a trumpet sounded, imposing total silence, scrupulously observed by all demonstrators, for meditation. Although we tried to speak with people who came to the arms fair, there were very few who were willing to engage in dialogue...
On the final evening, a round table discussion was held in the Assembly Hall on the topics of weapon conversion and a peace tax. Participants included Christian Brunnier of Mouvement pour une Alternative Non-violente (MAN)"
Yvonne Kressmann & Sylvie Gudin Poupaert
My heart sank when I saw our little group in front of the fence. Such a small group, so insignificant-looking against this backdrop of power and money. My dreams of making an impact seemed suddenly laughable. In that moment I was reduced to prayer. What can I do? Does it matter that we are here? It was in the vigil that the answers came. We were there to witness. To see. To simply be present. We were there as an expression of conscience, a conscience that should love ... By the end of the day I knew that the size of our group was irrelevant; the power of God is stronger than that which we encountered. Mary Benefiel, Belgium and Luxembourg Monthly Meeting Around Europe (adapted, trm & sgp)
Making Connections - Visits to members in the Netherlands
Our first stop was at the IFOR offices in Alkmaar. Jan Schaake of Kerk en Vrede, one arm of the Dutch branch of IFOR, joined our main meeting with IFOR General Secretary Anke Kooke. We spent some time re-introducing our respective organizations and giving an update on current issues and programme. IFOR's central project at the moment is the development of the Decade for a Culture of Nonviolence Campaign. The Nobel Peace Prize Laureates' Appeal (see C&P Spring/Summer 98, pp x) is one part of this campaign which is to include working groups on a variety of topics such as the establishment of ministries of peace and the development of nonviolent education, unarmed peace forces and zones of peace.
Discussing this Campaign brought up the question of improving coordination on a European level. With the growth of the European Union, there is a need to be present in pan-European structures. As a European network C&P would have the possibility to work more closely with IFOR at this level. This kind of cooperation should increase the amount of influence of Christian peace work in the general European context.
After a lunch with IFOR staff, Kati Simonyi from the C&P Eastern European office joined us for the trip to Amersfoort to meet with DVG board members Coot Winkler Prins, Annelies Klinefelter and Henk Bloom. We all quickly realized that this was a very important meeting as contact between DVG and C&P has dwindled, and there is little feeling of connection despite Annelies' involvement and promotion of C&P.
We spent a large part of the meeting looking at the context in the NL and exploring why, according to the DVG board members, the Dutch Mennonite churches are on the whole not actively committed to the peace church vision. The DVG board members feel that the churches don't want to be radical anymore; they have made compromises and have become more individualistic. Out of 120 Dutch Mennonite congregations, only 20 are members of DVG and only half of these member congregations are truly active members. Congregations tend to get involved in peace activities at the National Council level or via the Dutch IFOR branches.
It is clear from this meeting that in order to re-establish contact with inactive members, C&P must be the initiator and the discussion must examine how the network can be beneficial for each particular member. This visit as well as that with IFOR emphasized the need for more deliberate communication; information services such as periodicals need to be supplemented with personal contact. This is particularly true for "older" or very large corporate members where many or all of the persons involved currently may not even know that much about C&P or have attended a conference. We must explore concrete ways to work more closely together and make use of the many possibilities offered by a network.
Donation enables planning for the future
During this meeting chairperson Marie-Noelle von der Recke shared the joyful news that Church & Peace has received a gift of DM 65'000 from a committed friend of Church and Peace. The donor wrote in his letter that he makes this contribution with the request "that Church & Peace not tire in approaching the mainline churches and challenging them to give a clear witness for peace in the spirit of the Gospel".
We certainly want to hear this call for our network and our communities. This donation is truly a gift from God. The Administrative Committee and staff were spared the pain of considering serious cutbacks. However, while C&P can be confident of surviving the next 2 or 3 years, it is imperative that we work at ensuring a solid, long-term financial base. Thus the Committee will pursue funding sources such as the European Community and other agencies. Ideas and help in this are welcome!
Another important item on the agenda included the decision to hire Terri Miller as a full-time staff member as of next spring. Terri is currently a volunteer under MCC and is willing to stay on for two years as a paid employee. Also it was decided that Hansulrich Gerber will represent C&P at the Eighth Assembly of the World Council of Churches 3-14 December 1998.
The most time-consuming agenda item was preparation for the anniversary gathering and General Assembly next year. This event will take place 27-30 May 1999 at Bienenberg, near Basel, Switzerland. The suggested motto for the celebration is Jubilate! We will focus on transmitting the vision of C&P to the younger generations, cooperation with European agencies and theological reflection. Pamphlets and programme information will be mailed to you in the coming months. Please mark your calendars for this special gathering.
Hansulrich Gerber trm
New worker in Britain and Ireland
I work part-time giving 24-hour care to elderly people in their homes or in nursing-homes. My twin sons are 25 years old.
In the 1980s I founded a local Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) network. I was a member of Christian CND National Council, first as an elected member, then representing Anglican Pacifist Fellowship. I met Catherine Perry and Gerald Drewett through the Christian CND Council.
Since then, I've finished the Southwark Ordination Course of the Church of England and Methodist Church , collected a theology degree at King's College, London, and ministered in East London as an Anglican lay preacher. (During that time, the windows of the office where I worked part-time were shattered by the Bishopsgate dump truck bomb).
Since I moved to Colchester (Essex) in 1994, I've broadcast on local radio, BBC Radio Essex, about justice and peace groups, the problems of young soldiers in the Five Year Trap* and asylum seekers. I'm secretary to the Catholic parish council and a member of Colchester Churches Pentecost 2000 planning group which is preparing a celebration of the millennium for all the churches in Colchester.
Working for Church and Peace means that I will be in close contact again with old friends Gerald Drewett, Catharine Perry and Ursula Windsor. I have worked with Catharine for close to twenty years and know her dedication and devotion. I will do my utmost to continue her good work and ask for your patience and understanding for any mistakes as a new worker.
In his Easter message this year (urbi et Orbi - to the city and the world), Pope John Paul II emphasized the need to repeat the message of peace of the resurrected Christ to a "humanity marching towards the third millennium. This message of peace is for all who see a never-ending crucifixion, for those who are discouraged in their aspiring to respect human dignity and the right of each person to justice, work and more equitable living conditions."
The Pope expressed the hope that the spirit of Easter "would give courage to those who believed and still believe in dialogue for resolving national and international tensions; that God would put in everyone's heart the audacity of hope which is born of truth that is recognized and respected, so that new horizons and signs of solidarity would open up in the world."
Anne Malins trm
*Those who join the UK Armed Forces at age 16 and don't leave within their first six months are required to serve until they turn 21 despite the fact that they sign a new contract when they are 18.