'…and still we seek peace'
Pray for Peace on September 21, 2006
by Mary Beth Coudal
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan invites all world citizens to pray for peace for one day on September 21st.
“Twenty-four hours is not a long time. But it is...long enough to look over the barricades, or through the barbed wire, to see if there is another path,” said the Secretary-General at the International Day for Peace last year.
For more than 20 years the United Nations has celebrated the International Day for Peace. Five years ago, the special day added the word “prayer,” so the day became the International Day of Prayer for Peace.
The World Council of Churches (WCC) of which The United Methodist Church is a founding member, is in the midst of a Decade to Overcome Violence, from 2000 to 2010. The WCC has initiated and promoted the International Day of Prayer for Peace.
Church leaders in Latin America have chosen this year’s theme, “… and still we seek peace.”
While Annan encourages a moment of silence at noon, dozens of candlelight peace vigils are planned for the evening of September 21st in towns, cities, and churches around the United States and the world. At New Hope United Methodist Church in Chicago, there will be a peace vigil which includes music, drumming, sharing, and support for an interfaith declaration of peace on September 22nd.
“A lot is going on as part of an interfaith action to end the Iraq War...It’s a challenge in our churches to have this dialogue -- learning to hear both sides…We need to find new ways to really do peace and be peace and so we don’t just talk about it. It is the core of who we are. We are Christians, we are followers of Christ, we are people of peace,” said Rev. Catiana McKay of the Good Samaritan United Methodist Church in Addison, Illinois, and chair of the Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, Northern Illinois Conference.
“This reminder of peace -- it’s really just about remembering that we were created for peaceful loving engagement,” said Rev. McKay.
Centered in Prayer
Two years ago, Jan Love, Deputy General Secretary of the Women's Division, spoke at the Church Center of the United Nations to mark September 21st, the International Day of Prayer for Peace. She concluded with these words:
For prayers and more information on the World Council of Churches’ Decade to Overcome Violence visit the website http://www.overcomingviolence.org/
Date posted: Sep 18, 2006