As the danger of the nuclear arms race has steadily grown, one thing has become clear: the need for a movement of Christian conscience to oppose the deadly momentum and to provide leadership for peace.
A small circle of Christians who saw that need began to meet and talk together almost a year ago. We met to deepen our fellowship with one another and to explore ways we might work more closely together. We came from five different groups, each working to re-establish the vocation of peacemaking in the churches: the Fellowship of Reconciliation, New Call to Peacemaking, Pax Christi, World Peacemakers, and Sojourners.
Our coming together was indeed an ecumenical event: Protestant, Catholic, and the historic peace churches; evangelical and liberal theological traditions; pacifist and non-pacifist. All had come to believe that any significant initiative for peace would have to be deeply rooted in faith. Our sessions were centered in prayer and theological reflection about our perilous situation. We asked how the new stream of Christian peacemaking now flowing here and there might become a mighty river of fervent prayer and costly action for peace in our time.
It became clear to us that we needed something more than another statement, and that one program of action wouldn't be adequate. The idea of "covenant" emerged, perhaps because that was what was occurring among us. To covenant is to bind together for the sake of a common purpose; what if Christians would covenant together to abolish nuclear weapons as an urgent matter of faith? The covenant would not be a new organization but a new relationship among Christians for the sake of peace.