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International Day of Peace September 21

by Sung-ok Lee


Decade to Overcome Violence

Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace

Expressing appreciation that the UN General Assembly has designated September 21 as an International Day of Peace,  the WCC General Secretary Samuel Kobia shared with Secretary General Kofi Annan his intention to propose to the WCC governing bodies that they invite member churches to mark that day with special prayer services. “As a day of prayer for peace, the invitation could also reach people of other faiths,” Kobia stressed. Annan warmly welcomed the proposal, saying that it responds to his hope that the International Day of Peace will encourage people in different contexts to reflect together on what they can do for peace.

United Methodist Women!

"Let us join the faith community and people everywhere in holding group and individual prayer vigils and services on this day.  Say a prayer for peace.  Write a prayer for peace for United Methodist Women’s Prayer for Peace Campaign (on the web by clicking on the ‘Prayer for Peace’ logo or send a prayer postcard to the Service Center).

A Litany for Peace:

One:  From words and deeds that provoke discord, prejudice and hatred,
All:    O God, deliver us.

One:  From suspicions and fears that stand in the way of reconciliation,
All:    O God, deliver us.

One:  From believing and speaking lies about other peoples or nations,
All:    O God, deliver us.

One:  From cruel indifference to the cries of the hungry and homeless,
All:    O God, deliver us.

One:  From all that prevents us from fulfilling your promise of peace,
All:    O God, deliver us.

One:  Deliver us from our brokenness, we pray, O God,  
All:    and by your grace and healing presence deliver us to You

One:  To still waters and green pastures,
All:    O Creating God, deliver us.    

One:  To the freedom and forgiveness we find in you,
All:    O Risen Christ, deliver us.

One:  To the tough task of loving our enemies,
All:    O Jesus, deliver us.

One:  To joyful service in your name,
All:    O Servant of All, deliver us.

One:  To the promise of a new heaven and a new earth,   To the wholeness of justice,            
To the power of your peace,
All:   O Holy Spirit, deliver us now and in the days to come.

Closing Prayer   Charge our lives and our churches with the power of your peace, O God.  Overcome our fears and self-deceptions with the promise of your presence.  Make us signs of your generosity and justice.  Light us each day with hope, we pray, so that we may walk in your truth and be love in your Name.  Amen.

(From WCC US Office, www.overcomingviolence.org, usdov@wcc-coe.org)


Prayer is at the heart of the Decade to OvercomeViolence(or DOV), 2001-2010.  A major program ofthe World Council of Churches, the DOV runs parallel with the United Nations “Decade for Peace,” through which the UN encourages countries, religious groups, organizations, and individuals to help “build a culture of peace and nonviolence for the children of the world."

The Power and Promise of Peace is the DOV theme for 2004.  Chosen by Christians in the US, it conveys the responsibilities we have as witnesses to the power of Christ’s peace and as citizens of a powerful nation.

The International Day of Peace (now on September 21) was established in 1981 by the United Nations and is being observed by members of the World  Council of Churches for the first time this year through a world Day of Prayer.

How Can I Participate in the Decade to Overcome Violence?

  • Make peace a regular part of your prayer life.
  • Plan a time for confession, conversation, and reconciliation with those with whom you are in conflict.
  • Advocate for local and national policies that build a culture of peace.
  • Observe the International Day of Peace, see  www.cyberschoolbus.org

For more on the following activities contact the WCC US office, see below:

  • Introduce the four-session adult series “Why Violence? Why Not Peace?” in your congregation or ecumenical group.
  • Write your own short reflection or poem on the meaning of the 2004 theme and send to the WCC US office.  Youth and adult contributions are welcome.
  • Check the DOV Calendar of Peace Events on the web and participate.
  • Nominate an outstanding peacemaker in your church or community and present an award.(See DOV website for nomination and award forms.)

Other Resources

* * * * * * * *

WCC US Office, room 1371, 475 Riverside Drive, NY, NY 10115.  Call toll free: (888) 212-2920  www.overcomingviolence.org  e-mail:  usdov@wcc-coe.org


Date posted: Aug 03, 2004