Pacific is focus of the churches' anti-violence initiative

By agency reporter
June 26, 2008

Churches around the world will pray for the peoples of the Pacific as an international church initiative against violence focuses attention on the region this year. Pacific churches themselves will work together on how best to promote peace in their communities.

This year, the international church initiative, called Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV), will highlight ways to overcome cultural and ethnic violence, as cultural practices are often used to justify certain types of violence, like that based on gender. It will also promote human rights in communities, workplaces, schools or homes.

Inspired by the theme "Witnessing to the peace of God in Oceania", a number of activities and events are to take place during the year.

In the context of a youth campaign to promote peace and nonviolence, youth from the region will gather to share stories of peace and set up information booths during the Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa (CCCAS) Fono Tele (General Assembly) and the 10th Festival of Pacific Arts in American Samoa (20 July - 2 August 2008).

The International Day of Prayer for Peace on 21 September 2008 will be an opportunity for churches, congregations and individuals to pray for the Pacific region. Prayer resources for this will soon be available on internet (

A "Pacific stories of peace art competition" encourages young people to define peace in the Pacific through artwork. The best works will be featured in a 2009 Overcoming Violence Calendar. The deadline for submissions is 31 October 2008. (See additional information at

On 9-15 July, church representatives from all over the world will meet in Fiji to plan an International Ecumenical Peace Convocation to take place in Jamaica in 2011. Simultaneously, the World Council of Churches general secretary the Rev Dr Samuel Kobia will visit churches in Tahiti, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.

The Decade to Overcome Violence (2001-2010): Churches seeking reconciliation and peace is an initiative of the World Council of Churches. It calls churches, ecumenical organizations and all people of goodwill to work together for peace, justice and reconciliation.

2008 Pacific focus of the Decade to Overcome Violence:

International Day of Prayer for Peace:

10th Festival of Pacific Arts:

WCC member churches in the Pacific:

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