Final Document of the Presbyterian Consultation
São Paulo, Brazil, July 11-14, 2001
Jesus said to him: I am the way, and the truth,
and the life
The Presbyterian Mission in Brazil, through its member churches,
the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil (IPU), the Independent
Presbyterian Church of Brazil, and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),
gathered from July 11 to 14, 2001, in the city of São Paulo,
with 30 official representatives, consultants, and guests. We
reflected and discussed, in an interdisciplinary way, the concepts,
causes, consequences, and alternatives to violence in society.
The goal of the consultation was to reflect on the presence of
the Church in the
face of the reality of violence and what actions will give witness
to Jesus Christ and to the proclamation of the gospel of peace.
For whenever I speak, I must cry out, I must shout, "violence
and destruction!" (Jeremiah 20:8.)
Violence is any dynamic action that impedes the bringing to
fullness of life. Violence is the negation of this peace, which
is God’s purpose for humanity and all creation. The marks
of violence are death, injustice, oppression, suffering, fear,
and despair. The marks of violence have been all too evident in
human history. The system of violence is cultural, and is both
visible and invisible and is present in diverse structures of
society. The culture of violence reduces life to consumerism and
destroys relationships. These are important factors in the creation
of violence and forms of oppression. We recognize that the capacity
towards violence is within each of us individually and
in the very structures of society. The tendency toward violence
is also within our churches and is evident in expressions of intolerance.
We are searching as a Church to replace the culture of violence
with values that give expression to the reign of God that is justice
Violence is a daily reality that touches everyone. However,
women, children, indigenous peoples, immigrants, Afro-Brazilians,
Afro-Americans, and prisoners suffer more because of their vulnerability
and social exclusion. It is a matter of life and death. This calls
the Church to proclaim the gospel of justice and peace and to
stand against all forms of violence.
There are structural and ideological elements to this violence:
- Including individual, family violence, child abuse and violence
in intimate relationships.
- Social exclusion manifested in the lack of investment in education,
health, housing, sanitation, employment opportunities and in
the unequal distribution of wealth.
- The media, which glorifies violence, desegregates familiar
relationships, and reflects the interests of the elite.
- Discrimination, intolerance, abuse of power, the use of violence
and social and political structures.
- Globalization, which arises from 500 years of exploitation,
by which rich nations become richer, and poor nations become
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children
As Peacemakers called by Christ, we commit ourselves to work
for peace by:
- Recognizing that, even though the violence is a part of each
one of us, and is reflected in our relations with our families,
churches, and institutions, there are ways to transform ourselves
into creative agents in the process of building peace.
- Recognizing that violence is an act against God, who created
peace; against our neighbor, with whom we must live in harmony
and integrity; and against the environment, for which we have
the mission of caring and protecting.
- Organizing and participating in actions against violence and
in favor of peace.
- Developing safe places to provide support and healing for
victims of violence.
- Organizing activities that further peace, i.e. forums, seminars,
working in partnerships with other groups in society, and motivating
members of our churches to participate in these actions.
- Creating networks with churches and other organizations around
the world to share information, experiences, and partnership
against actions and structures of violence.
- Including the study of human rights and violence in the curriculum
of our seminaries.
- Denouncing the deterioration of our basic values in society,
especially as reflected in the media and in the justice system.
- Calling our churches to work together in partnership to raise
awareness of and challenge the forces in society that prevent
us from seeing one another as children of God. For example,
globalization, which impedes self-determination and subjects
poor nations to the interests of rich nations, leads to an increase
of injustice and violence.
- Proposing that the Presbyterian Mission in Brazil ("Missão
Presbiteriana do Brasil") create a permanent program for
justice and peace.
- Proposing to the Presbyterian Mission in Brazil the creation
of a "National Week for Peace" as one of the activities
developed by the permanent program for peace and justice.
Finally, we conclude affirming that we believe that educating
for peace is the best way to bring about a more peaceful world.
- We believe in God, the Father, who created all things for
integrity and peace.
- We believe in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, who reconciled
humanity with God, with each other, and with all nature, through
his death and resurrection.
- We believe in the Holy Spirit who teaches us the way of peace
and justice in the world and history.
- We believe that the unity of the Father, the Son, and the
Holy Spirit is the model for integrity and peace for all creation.
We believe that the Church is chosen by God for the ministry
of reconciliation and peace in the world.