The World Council of Churches (WCC) is calling on the churches and congregations around the world to observe an International Day of Prayer for Peace on Sept. 21. The day coincides with the International Day of Peace initiated by the United Nations.
Participants are especially invited to pray and act together for a just peace in communities, nations and the world.
Prayers from different parts of the world will be shared through online means, including Facebook and Twitter (hashtag: #peaceday). People who are not active on these social media platforms may share their prayers by email.
Prayers for a just peace lift up social, economic, ecological or political-military aspects of peace. People who attended or followed last year’s International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Kingston, Jamaica, are invited to name initiatives carried forward from the convocation.
Praying for Ceasefire is the theme adopted this year by “On Earth Peace,” a United States-based agency rooted in the Church of the Brethren. “For some people, praying for ceasefire will mean praying for a break in armed conflict. For others, a ceasefire will mean ending conflict in their community, workplace, church or family,” said Matt Guynn of On Earth Peace.
To commemorate the day, On Earth Peace also invites diverse congregations and groups to plan events including prayers, cultural sharing, music and the arts, to challenge violence in communities and to encourage action for peace.
The prayers for peace last year circled the globe from Cuba to Fiji, Indonesia, Rwanda, Germany and Canada. A parish in Wales, to cite one example, prayed for reconciliation and against military drones.
Observances of the peace prayer day began in 2004 as part of the ecumenical Decade to Overcome Violence (2001-2010) after an agreement between the heads of the WCC and the U.N.