Friday, September 19, 2008

This Sunday: International Day of Prayer for Peace

Dear friends,

Many of you have been hard at work planning and preparing events for this weekend as part of the International Day of Prayer for Peace.

Congratulations!  It's almost here!

Here in the Portland, OR, office of On Earth Peace, we are excited about the nearly 150 congregations and community groups who have connected with On Earth Peace as part of this initiative focused on local violence.
We want to have as complete a listing of participants as possible.  If your church is participating -- either by praying about violence in yourSunday service, or another public event of some kind -- would you take a quick moment to look at our participant list on the web, and make sure you're listed? 
You can find it here:

For those just getting started, you can also find a media kit, worship resources, and more on the resource page here:
(Many are using the questions from the Community Violence Survey on the Resources page as part of their service or prayer event -- check them out.)

Read on for a press release from the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland, highlighting On Earth Peace's organizing campaign!

Blessings and strength,

Matt Guynn & Michael Colvin

World Council of Churches - News Release
Contact:               +41 22 791 6153                      +41 79 507 6363

For immediate release - 16/09/2008 14:09:15


Nearly 140 congregations and Christian groups in the United States are organizing public prayer events on the International Day of Prayer for Peace, on 21 September. Another grouping of churches from different countries around the world has committed to observe the day with a 24-hour prayer chain.

These are but two examples of the growing popularity of the International Day of Prayer for Peace, which is observed on 21 September. Since its launch by the World Council of Churches (WCC) in 2004, the day is an opportunity for churches worldwide to pray and act together to nurture lasting peace in the hearts of people, their families, communities and societies.

This year, the campaign for the day of prayer carried out by On Earth Peace, a US-based agency rooted in the Church of the Brethren, has mobilized nearly 140 congregations to hold public prayer events. Congregations are encouraged to bring together groups of people in their community to focus on the ways in which violence is affecting them.

"Our hope is that participating congregations intentionally build new or deeper ecumenical and interfaith relationships at the local level, so they are in a strengthened position for addressing violence in their communities on a more ongoing basis," says Matt Guynn, the group's Peace Witness coordinator.

Also on 21 September, nine countries from the Pacific, Europe and North America regions will be linked in a 24-hour prayer chain. Prayer events will be hosted by churches in American Samoa, Canada, Fiji, Indonesia, New Zealand, Norway, Samoa, Tuvalu and the United States.

The idea of the International Day of Prayer for Peace was proposed in 2004 during a meeting between WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia and then UN secretary general Kofi Annan. It is celebrated on September 21 (or the closest Sunday), coinciding with the UN International Day of Peace. The day of prayer is one of the initiatives of the WCC's Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV).

For 2008, prayer and liturgical resources developed in the context of this year's DOV focus on the Pacific region and its theme "Witnessing to God's Peace" have been made available.

International Day of Prayer for Peace

On Earth Peace campaign website:

Additional information: Juan Michel,              +41 22 791 6153                      +41 79 507 6363

The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, from the Methodist Church in Kenya. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

International Day of Prayer for Peace UPDATER 7/28/2008

News from On Earth Peace's campaign to support the International Day of Prayer for Peace

Friends and organizing partners, sisters and brothers,

Greetings in the name of Christ and in God's peace and grace! 

We've got great news to share!

As of today, sixty-one (63!) congregations and community groups have committed through On Earth Peace to participate in the International Day of Prayer for Peace. This means sixty-three communities where people are committed to having new conversations about the violence that affects their neighborhoods, and committed to praying about what they can do about it.  Please visit our website to see if your group or congregation is listed there as a 2008 participant -- and if not, maybe it's time to register & get started!

Also, you will notice that our home page has a new feature!  Pastor Larry O'Neill of the Skippack Church of the Brethren (Collegeville, PA) has created a 3-minute video that explains what the International Day of Prayer for Peace is all about, and tells of his church's plans for this year.  Later today, we'll be adding a news clip about the 2007 IDOPP event planned by the Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren, Harrisburg, PA.

In last week's networking calls, passion and energy ran high, as people shared about what they're experiencing (underemployment, drugs, gangs, homicide, domestic abuse, impacts of the war), and the power and vision God is giving for a new and different life. Through their organizing, people involved in IDOPP are finding a way to channel their vision for a world with less violence and more shalom. Through IDOPP, people are finding a way to express their concerns through positive action.

In one call, one man shared about how organizing around the International Day of Prayer for Peace in 2007 led them to new connections outside their congregation-- relationships which they are building on to go further this year, laying plans for a more ongoing efforts to reduce violence!
        Another woman shared how she is planning to reach out to her local ministerial group to find new organizing partners, tapping a swell of local concern about how the church can help people feel and see God's vision and concern, despite the evident brokenness and hurt in the world and their community.

We are pleased to already have participating groups from the ELCA (Lutheran), Catholic, Quaker, Presbyterian, Mennonite, Methodist, and Church of the Brethren.  We have a two groups based in retirement communities, and a medical practice, also!  There are groups signed up from coast-to-coast in the United States, in Ireland, and in Nigeria.  We'd love to include you or your group in that number --- Join us!

In the following paragraphs, we describe "Three-Part Plan" we're suggesting for this year's organizers.

We are inviting participating congregations and community groups to think in terms of of three phases:

Before Sept 21; Sept 21 (day of); and After Sept 21.

BEFORE: Build NEW or DEEPER relationships with people in your community.  Find out about, or build a stronger shared sense of the violence that affects your neighborhood (unemployment? drug abuse? racism? domestic violence?  militarization of youth?  war?).
ON SEPT 21: Hold a public prayer event including these new friends & partners, focusing on the kinds of violence you uncovered in your information-gathering, asking God for assistance, help, inspiration.
AFTER: Building on these new relationships, keep a magnifying glass on one or more of the forms of violence you identified.  Help catalyze continued efforts to address them.

We have many resources on the website to help you work at these steps, and we are on call via e-mail or phone to address any of your questions or help flesh out your ideas.

Let us know what's happening where you are!

Blessings, Peace & Grace to you.
Michael Colvin & Matt Guynn
On Earth Peace's International Day of Prayer for Peace Organizing Staff

Campaign phone: 530.844.3838


You are receiving this message as a part of the "Peace Witness Action List," a program of On Earth Peace.  This list is to alert you of creative nonviolent action throughout the United States and beyond, with the intention of inspiring Spirit-filled creative action in your community.  Find this and previous posts online at

On Earth Peace is an agency rooted in the Church of the Brethren, helping people faithfully discern "the things that make for peace" (Luke 19).

You can support this and other peace and reconciliation ministries of On Earth Peace with your credit card!  Go to and click on the blue "Donate Now" button to make a secure donation to On Earth Peace through Network for Good, our partner in making online giving easy for you.  Thank you!

If you would like to receive these alerts or end your subscription, kindly send an e-mail message to

On the web:; Tel (410) 635-8704; On Earth Peace, PO Box 188, New Windsor, MD 21776-0188.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What Are You Doing on September 21?

1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22, NRSV

On Sunday September 21, 2008...
Will Your Church Be Praying for Peace? 
Will Your Church Speak Up About Violence?

On Earth Peace invites your congregation to join the World Council of Churches' 2008 International Day of Prayer for Peace campaign.

You know your community.

Is there domestic violence, homicide, poverty, child abuse, racism?  

You also know God has a different vision for life -- for abundant life, for dignity for all, for justice and shalom.

Will you consider calling together a public prayer service about your community's violence this September?

Hundreds of thousands of people from churches, synagogues, and mosques around the world will join together in the International Day of Prayer for Peace.

For participants connecting through On Earth Peace, there will be opportunities to connect with other peace-committed Christian congregations concerned about violence, access to On Earth Peace resources, and guidance on how to make praying and acting for God's peace an ongoing activity.
We look forward to working with you to creatively address the needs of your community with spiritual power.   For more information and to register, please visit our website by clicking here.
Blessings and Peace,
Matt Guynn
Coordinator of Peace Witness
On Earth Peace