Building Peace in the Heart of Darkness
Image: Courtesy of World Relief

Violence erupted again this week in the fractured Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) when at least 20 people were killed in clashes between the government and the M23 rebel militia, breaking a truce that had held since last November.

The fighting paused Thursday (May 23) for the arrival of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the city of Goma in eastern Congo, according to the BBC. Meanwhile, the United Nations' new 3,000-person intervention brigade has also begun to arrive in Goma. The force will be allowed to offensively target and "neutralize" violent groups in the region, an unprecedented step for the UN.

Amid the clamor and negotiations, it would be easy to overlook one new movement, working to heal eastern Congo: Small groups of Congolese church leaders, including influential local women, are volunteering to solve and prevent conflicts one at a time, without fanfare.

It's a simple idea. But in a nation where political solutions are often given more attention than community solutions, World Relief, the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals, believes these committees, which require the inclusion of female leaders, could be a key to peace.

For the last several years, World Relief has been forming "village peace committees" in eastern Congo. World Relief has had an office in the city of Goma since 2001, and they began the committees as a pilot program intended to foster peace at the grassroots level.

"We've wrapped everything together under the theme of peace," said World Relief President Stephen Bauman. "We're still doing microfinance, we're still doing food security, we're still doing health, but we now have ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Current IssueEven in Canada, Conservative Churches Are Growing
Even in Canada, Conservative Churches Are Growing Subscriber Access Only
Mainline churches with evangelical leanings outpace their liberal counterparts, study says.
RecommendedThe Secret Religion of the Slaves
The Secret Religion of the Slaves
They often risked floggings to worship God.
TrendingForgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Forgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Amid ISIS attacks, faithful response inspires Egyptian society.
Editor's PickWhat to Make of Donald Trump’s Soul
What to Make of Donald Trump’s Soul
And how that might shape our response to his presidency.
Christianity Today
Building Peace in the Heart of Darkness
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

May 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.