By Stan Friedman
CHICAGO, IL (April 24, 2014) — Leith Anderson, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals and one of the speakers at the 2014 Annual Meeting, recently returned from a “peace-seeking” trip to the war-torn Central African Republic and published an article in TIME magazine calling on Christians to pay attention to the violence there.
Anderson will speak at the Annual Meeting on Friday, June 27, when the service will focus on the Covenant’s global ministry. Next Wednesday, April 30, is the end of early registration for the meeting.
“The whole world knows about the missing Malaysian airplane with 239 passengers and crew,” Anderson wrote in the TIME article. “Forty four million dollars have already been spent on the search. But, there are thousands missing in CAR, and it barely makes the news. International troops under United Nations leadership need to establish order and rebuild infrastructure. And relief and development assistance should be immediately deployed.”
Covenant missionaries Roy and Aleta Danforth help lead an agriculture project in the CAR. So far, the violence has not impacted the ministry, although it has come close.
So far, the violence in the internal conflict has led to the deaths of thousands of people, according to the United Nations. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee. More than one million people—a quarter of the population—need assistance in Central African Republic, considered one of the poorest countries in the world.
Anderson and two other religious leaders, Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and Muslim Imam Mohamed Magid, who is president of the Islamic Society of North America, traveled to the African nation’s capital city of Bangui at the invitation of the U.S. State Department.
The fighting has divided primarily along religious lines, but Anderson echoed the Danforths and others when he countered the assertion that it has been a religious conflict despite the peace that previously existed between Christians and Muslims. “I can see why they say this, since there are similar lines politically, demographically, and religiously,” Anderson wrote. “However, the leaders we talked to in CAR insist this is not a religious war. To the contrary, the religious leaders are the loudest, most courageous voices against the violence and the strongest promoters of peace.”
The Annual Meeting will be held June 26-28 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Chicago. The early registration rate is $329 for delegates. Hotel accommodations must be booked separately.
The Annual Meeting is part of Gather ’14, which also includes Experience Chicagoland.