21st September 2016 – International Prayer Day for Peace
(An invitation to “Do” and “Practice” Peace)
“Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace”(United Nations)
Each year, the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21st September. The General Assembly of the United Nations has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals to inculcate the culture of Peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.
The World Council of Churches calls Churches and all the faith and peace loving communities to observe the International Day of Prayer for Peace. Observances of the peace prayer day began in 2004 during a meeting between the then WCC General Secretary Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and coincides with the UN International Day of Peace.
The Commission on Justice Peace and Creation of the National Council of Churches in India has been facilitating and working with the Indian Churches for the past seven years to ensure that this day addresses issues related to peace and societal harmony. Along with the Indian Churches we are working and raising voices for Peace wherever there are conflicts such as in Iraq, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Palestine and other such contexts, even within India where unjust and inhuman policies and politics are gravely affecting the general innocent public. The NCCI joins the global communities who seek peace and demand suitable mechanisms for ‘truth and reconciliation’. On 3rd February 2014, at the NCCI’s Centenary Symposium, the South Asian National Councils have decided to work on a common theme ‘Peace and Human Security in South Asia’.
The Commission on Unity and Mission of the National Council of Churches in India, invites all NCCI Constituent Members, Interfaith and Peace Loving Communities to creatively observe this day in your respective congregations, communities and institutions.
Such observances would offer opportunities for all of us to support the peace campaign widely and to reaffirm the words of Jesus ‘ … blessed are the peace makers (Matthew 5: 20)‘ by ministering for the Right of Peoples to Peace, thereby following the call of God in promoting peace in our region.
The International Prayer Day for Peace also invites all to honour the practice of cessation of hostilities and to commemorate the Day by organizing events to ‘light a candle’ and encouraging the people to ‘pledge for peace’, offering special prayers for peace and for victims and martyrs in conflicts, creating public awareness on issues related to peace, thereby affirming the declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace, with its central message that humanity’s sustainable progress and the realization of fundamental rights and freedom depend on peace and security. It is central to the Rights upfront approach, which calls upon the national and international communities to act early and more concertedly in the face of human rights violations, which are often the precursors of worse to come.
This Day also unites all of us as an earth family to deliver the right to peace by encouraging fighters to lay down and give-up their arms. Let this Day make us stand in solidarity with the civilians killed by terrorism and war, the traumatized families whose homes and futures lie in ruins, the countries whose development has been set back by decades.
History has shown that, no matter how fierce, conflict can end, peace can prevail and reconciliation can triumph. On 21st September, at concerts and special events around the world — in major cities and small towns, in conflict zones and peaceful communities – people will broadcast this essential message. They will celebrate the value of human diversity and the strength of our unity.
Therefore, the NCCI urges every peace-loving person and congregations to engage with their friends and neighbours, their community organizations and governments: together let us pray and claim the right of peoples to peace. Let us dedicate this day to praying and sowing seeds of local possibilities for a harvest of global peace.
Rt. Rev. Dr. Prem Chand Singh,
Mr. Liju J Kuriakose Mrs. Aleyamma Thomas Rev. Dr. Rathnakara Sadananda
Rev. Dr. A G Augustine Jayakumar Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad
Treasurer General Secretary
Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar
God our creator,
Your Son Jesus Christ said to the apostles
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you”.
Give us courage to challenge the perpetrators of violence
and to change their behaviour.
Help us devote our whole life,
thought and energy to the task of making peace.
We pray for the war affected societies including Gaza, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Egypt and other places and the victims of the conflicts,
where fear, violent thoughts or action shall no longer exist,
and where selfishness will not lead people to commit injustice to others.
As for the peoples of every earth community and race,
may your ‘kindom’ come; through your reign of Justice, Peace and Love.
May peace prevail in Asia.
May peace prevail on earth.
We pray in the name of Jesus the Prince of Peace
While holding a lighted candle the following
Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi could be recited as a pledge
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen…
This NCCI joins hands with the United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India, Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute, Tamilnadu Christian Council and Christian Service Agency in organizing a peace symposium on the UN’s theme of the day i.e., ‘Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks of Peace’. The Peace Worship is scheduled to be held at the Gurukul Chapel at 10.00 and followed by a Peace Tree Plantation and Peace Fellowship at 10.30 am, and from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm, a Peace Symposium is scheduled at Church Women Centre, UELCI Campus, Chennai. Chennai based ecumenists, clerics and interested people are welcome.
Note: The Commission on Justice Peace and Creation of the NCCI (now renamed as Commission on Unity and Mission) and the United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India (UELCI) have jointly developed a ‘Peace Manual’. Interested persons may contact The Commission on Unity and Mission – NCCI Post Box 205, Civil lines, Nagpur – 440001. (Maharashtra) Phone: +917122561464 email: firstname.lastname@example.org.