In recent years, Christians from a variety of denominations who are active in peacemaking and reconciliation ministries have started to share resources to enhance the growing reconciliation movement. About 300 Christians from around the world, including hot spots such as Rwanda, Croatia, and Northern Ireland, gathered for Reconciliation '97, held at Coventry Cathedral in England. Raleigh Washington, an African-American Promise Keepers leader from Chicago, told the group, "Change will only happen as we come together as one. I have a new dream that churches around the world will come together in unifying love."
Former South African President F. W. De Klerk, whose government supported the apartheid system, shows how far reconciliation efforts have come in the 1990s. De Klerk appealed to the victims of discriminatory policies to "find it in their hearts to forgive us." De Klerk said most Christians have failed to carry out Jesus' commandment of forgiveness. "Until we truly forgive our enemies we carry within our hearts a bitterness, which can poison every other aspect of our lives."
Johnson Philip Mlambo, a former Pan African Congress deputy who spent 20 years in prison with current South African President Nelson Mandela, experienced reconciliation firsthand. "It is important to me to be here, because some of the bad things that happened in our country happened in the name of religion," Mlambo said. "This has deepened my commitment to the worth of the human being."
The roots of the reconciliation ministry at the cathedral date to World War II when Nazi bombs caused heavy damage. During the cathedral's restoration, nails were collected and wired together in the shape of a cross and sent to Christians in Germany as an act of friendship. ...1
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