US peace church mobilises for international day of prayer

By agency reporter
April 26, 2009

On Earth Peace, a Church of the Brethren agency in the USA, is calling on churches and organizations to join its annual campaign to participate in the World Council of Churches' International Day of Prayer for Peace (IDOPP) on 21 September.

This year, a special emphasis is being given to the ways in which the current deep recession is affecting local communities. "Times like these remind us that peace is always a local issue," said Matt Guynn, Peace Witness coordinator for On Earth Peace.

He added, "A severe recession is the economic equivalent to war. Families are being destroyed and community life is disrupted. God calls us to lift up and pursue a positive vision of life that has community and family at its centre."

The campaign is an ecumenical effort open to all faith traditions. Participating groups will have a variety of ways to observe the International Day of Prayer for Peace, depending on their demographics, energy, and experience with peace and social justice issues.

"This is our third year for conducting a campaign around the International Day of Prayer for Peace," said Michael Colvin, Peace Witness associate for On Earth Peace. "Our experience has taught us that churches and other community groups come to the campaign with a wide variety of expectations and so we have geared our training and support to meet a variety of different needs."

On Earth Peace is providing group registration, information, training, resources, and other assistance at

The International Day of Prayer for Peace was first proposed in 2004 during a meeting between World Council of Churches General Secretary the Rev Dr Samuel Kobia and then United Nation Secretary General, Kofi Annan as one of the initiatives of the WCC's Decade to Overcome Violence.

This is marked and celebrated annually on 21 September, or the closest Sunday to the UN International Day of Peace. In 2008, thousands of churches were involved across the world and more than 160 congregations and organizations from the United States, Puerto Rico, and four other countries took part in the second year of the On Earth Peace campaign.

The Church of the Brethren is a Christian denomination that describes itself as “committed to continuing the work of Jesus peacefully and simply and to living out its faith in community.” The denomination is based in the Anabaptist and Pietist faith traditions and is one of the three Historic Peace Churches. It celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2008. It counts more than 125,000 members across the United States and Puerto Rico and has missions and sister churches in Nigeria, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and India.

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