Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), an internationally recognised agency which seeks to 'get in the way' of war and oppression in conflict zones across the world, is seeking to recruit more volunteers from Britain, Ireland and mainland Europe.
CPT, which came to international prominence during the Iraq hostage crisis of 2005-6, works in low-profile but significant ways with local communities in Israel-Palestine, Iraq, Colombia and other places - including North America and Africa.
It has vacancies for both short- and long-term volunteers, who are carefully and professionally equipped in a range of techniques for making non-violent interventions and for conflict transformation work.
The organisation, supported strongly by peace churches and others in the USA, has a network in the UK and is looking to recruit people for training and equipping at an event in London between 1-30 October 2009. More candidates are needed by 1 July, Christian Peacemaker Teams spokesperson Tim Nafziger - who worked in Britain for a number of years - told Ekklesia this week.
There is also an opportunity to join a short-term delegation working on Aboriginal rights issues in Canada in August 2009.
Nafziger commented: "Holding CPT training in London will be a big step forward in a developing the work of Christian peacemaking in the UK and across Europe. We have had applicants from Germany, Scotland, England, Sweden and the Netherlands and we have regional groups emerging in Germany and the Netherlands. But we need more from the UK."
He added: "After a decade when so many around the world have come to associate Christianity with violence, torture and imperialism, I believe Christians across Europe are drawn to the vision of answering Jesus' call to peacemaking by working with communities in conflict zones to reduce violence and build justice."
Simon Barrow, co-director of the religion and society think-tank Ekklesia, added: "At the end of June the government is encouraging us to mark 'Armed Forces Day'. What we need more than ever in today's conflict-ridden world, however, is a massive increase in unarmed forces. There are plenty who go into conflict zones with guns, contracts and foreign policy agendas. Often this just makes things worse. What we need instead are professionally equipped, skilled and creative peacemakers who can get to root causes and work for change with those on the ground. This is what Christian Peacemaker Teams uses its experience and knowledge to do."
He continued: ""As part of our work in promoting fresh ideas and perspectives on alternatives to violence and armed conflict, Ekklesia is therefore delighted to work in partnership with Christian Peacemaker Teams in the UK and globally."
The think-tank has also produced resources for Armed Forces Day, giving people the opportunity to look at practical alternatives to war and violence. http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/resources/armed_forces_day
CPT UK will be conducting its Peacemaker Corps Training in October 2009 for a group of 10-15 applicants from Europe and the UK. For more information and a contact go to http://www.cptuk.org.uk/training For more information about the content of the training, see: http://www.cpt.org/resources/training
For more about Christian Peacemaker Teams worldwide, go to: http://www.cpt.org/