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Swords into Plowshares is the blog of the Peacemaking Program and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.

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January 28, 2014

World Interfaith Harmony Week 2014

Observe World Interfaith Harmony Week

We live in an interfaith world. This brings challenges and opportunities.

Respectful Presence: An Understanding of Interfaith Prayer and Celebration from a Reformed Christian Perspective, a document commended to congregations and governing bodies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) by the 209th General Assembly (1997) affirms this when it says: "In a world of many bitter divisions to which, sadly, religious differences often contribute, there is an urgent call to all people of faith to seek understanding and cooperation. In response to this vocation, Christians should be eager to seek fellowship with people of other religions, work together with them, and celebrate our common concerns and values, all the while being alert to the great sensitivity this practice requires."

World Interfaith Harmony Week provides an opportunity for people of different faiths to seek fellowship, work together, and celebrate common concerns and values.

The United Nations General Assembly designated the first week in February as World Interfaith Harmony Week. H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan proposed the creation of the week.

The resolution "reaffirms that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace" and "encourages all States to support, on a voluntary basis, the spread of the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world's churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship during that week, based on love of God and love of one's neighbour or on love of the good and love of one's neighbour, each according to their own religious traditions or convictions."

Different communities may observe World Interfaith Harmony Week in ways that are appropriate to their situation and relationships.

Ideas to observe the week could include (but not be limited to) praying with people of all faiths for peace in the Middle East and around the world, dialogues, work to "green sacred spaces," shared breakfasts or other meals, or joint community projects.Explore the Interfaith Toolkit of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for additional ideas and resources.

Learn about events that are already planned for World Interfaith Harmony Week. Plan and register your event.

World Interfaith Harmony Week is an opportunity to practice "respectful presence." As the 209th General Assembly (1997) states, " Respectful presence is a way to follow Jesus of Nazareth, who met with people of many cultures and religions even as he fulfilled the nature and purpose of his God-given mission. Our expectation is that the practice of respectful presence can enable Christians to have fruitful experiences of interfaith dialogue, celebration, or worship. At the same time, our expectation is that respectful presence with people of other faiths can lead Christians into a fuller understanding and experience of their own faith."



Categories: Communities, Congregations, Diversity, Making Peace with the Earth, Prayer, U.N. General Assembly, Worship

Tags: h.m. king abdullah ii, interfaith, jordan, presbyterian church (u.s.a.), respectful presence, respectful presence: an understanding of interfait, united nations, world interfaith harmony week

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