The first week of November, 1983, leaders from the Christian peace movement in the United States gathered at the Kirkridge retreat center in northeastern Pennsylvania for their second annual retreat. With no specific agenda, these representatives from peace groups spanning the spectrum of the churches met for prayer and reflection. What emerged was a very deep concern for the situation in the Caribbean and Central America, with a particular focus on the situation in Nicaragua. Out of their intercession for the people of Nicaragua came the following statement.—The Editors
We are Christians from many churches, national organizations, and local communities across the United States. We come from every sector of the church's life: Protestant, Roman Catholic, evangelical, and black and historic peace churches.
Gathered at a retreat at Kirkridge in Bangor, Pennsylvania, in November, 1983, we are moved to write this letter, which is addressed to the churches and is being sent to the government authorities. As this letter emerges, we realize that more than writing a letter, we are making a covenant and inviting others to join us.
We have gathered together not around an agenda, but for Bible study, prayer, worship, and reflection. We have focused our prayer and discernment on the question of how we might be more faithful to Jesus' call, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."
The urgency and danger of the moment have been weighing heavily on us in these days. We have seen a litany of interconnected crises and suffering: nuclear weapons, European missiles, hungry and homeless multitudes, disappearing human rights, superpower intervention, wars, and rumors of wars.