Towards a theology of peace-building in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) : the contribution of Christian women.
This study is an attempt to define a theology of peace that can be a driving force behind the motivation of Christian women to be involved in the process of peace-building in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In fact the DRC has been for many years a theatre of conflicts and unprecedented violence against women and children that has affected the fabric of life in every sector. The study aims at answering the following research question: ‘What contribution can Christian women make to foster a theology of peace in order to build sustainable peace in the Kivu region of DRC?’ This study has used two major theories, biblical peace and feminist ecclesiology, which circumscribe the involvement of Christian women in building peace in the DRC. The study uses a qualitative empirical methodology to address the issue of peace-building in the DRC from a feminist perspective. Data was collected through in-depth interviews, contextual Bible study, written documents and personal observation and experience. A group of five local women’s fellowships, from the most influential denominations affiliated to the Eglise du Christ au Congo —ECC (National Council of Churches in the DRC), was selected for group discussion and bible study. Individual interviews were conducted with six leaders of women’s fellowships, eight pastors and three members of independent organizations. In addition, the President of the national office of La Fédération des Femmes Protestantes (FPP) and the President of the provincial office of the ECC-North Kivu shared their views on the situation of the conflict and their contribution towards the restoration of peace. The analysis of data has revealed that Christians could make a difference in addressing the situation of conflict in the DRC, mainly conflicts that involve local communities. However, the majority of the population claiming to be Christians do not display Christian ethics and values in handling conflicts because of tribal and ethnic ties, divisions among Christian denominations and weaknesses in the teaching of God’s principles of peace-building. The story of Abigail encouraged women to be courageous and bold in order to rise up to the challenge of restoring peace in a patriarchal society dominated by violence caused by male arrogance and intolerance. The contextual Bible study of the story of Abigail provided a number of Christian values that are vital for peace building. These include justice, forgiveness, humility, valuing life and avoiding bloodshed and self-avenging. This study argues that a theology of peace that cuts across all cultures and denominations should be rooted in the above Christian values. To foster such a theology of peace-building among women at the grassroots level, it was suggested to cast the above Christian values in a form of a creed or hymn that women could declare or sing regularly in their meetings as a commitment to live up to their faith and act upon it. By so doing Christian women can contribute to the process of peace-building in the DRC.
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