If someone told you how to be more effective in your work for a more just and peaceful world, would you do it?
Have you ever heard 100 people gasp in unison?
After the June nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., that left 49 people dead and another 50 injured, the colorful symbols of peace made their way to First Congregational Church of Winter Park UCC in Winter Park, Fla., located just a few miles from where the tragedy took place.
The Thirtieth General Synod called on the congregations of the United Church of Christ to mark the Sunday preceding September 21 (which the United Nation recognizes as the “International Day of Prayer for Peace”) as Just Peace Sunday.
Observe Just Peace Sunday on September 17, 2017
Just Peace is not a destination, but a path requiring awareness and constant vigilance to resolve existing and developing conflict in ourselves, our families, our communities, our institutions, and our world. This path requires non-violence when possible and even when impossible to engage in love and restraint. Just Peace envisions a renewed, vibrant, diverse, and sustainable world free of violence.
Just Peace is grounded in God's activity in creation; God’s covenant patience and provision in the wilderness; in the reconciling activity of Jesus Christ; in the presence of the Holy Spirit; and in the community of reconciliation. Shalom is the vision that pulls all creation toward a time when weapons are made into ploughs and all creatures lie down together without fear; where all have their own vine, fig tree, and dwell secure from want. As Christians, we offer this conviction to the world: Peace is possible!
Observe Just Peace Sunday! Here are some resources to use in your congregation:
Worship Ways - Liturgy for Just Peace Sunday
Download this special UCC "Worship Ways" liturgy for Just Peace Sunday - Remember, Repent, Renew – The way of Just Peace. The liturgy was written by Romee St. John, M.Div senior at Princeton Theological Seminary and Intern with Justice and Witness Ministries.
Sermon Seeds – Repent, Reconcile, Renew
Download this special "Sermon Seeds" or exegesis of Genesis 50:15-21 and Romans 14:1-12. Let us remember the ways we have left the path of peace, return to the way of peace, and renew our relationships with each other, our community, our world, and our God. Download this special "Sermon Seeds"
Art Work for Just Peace Sunday
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Craft Activity for Youth and Children
Observe UCC Just Peace Sunday, church-wide, by giving your children a biblical look at Just Peace and making a craft with your church youth and children. These Hands-in-Prayer cards or Way of Just Peace Lanterns can be draped throughout your building in celebration of Just Peace Sunday and in observance of the International Peace Day (September 21). It will be a vivid witness to your congregation's commitment to peace.
- Glowing Lantern Craft
- Alternative Craft: Download the Hands-in-Prayer card instructions
- While your children are crafting consider inviting them to sing along with music about peacemaking.
Consider sending pictures, or the actual cards, to your state and national leaders as an act of advocacy. And please send us the pictures so that we can share them with UCC congregations across the country! Post them on Twitter and tag @JustPeaceUCC or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The “hands-in-prayer” craft was created by Tirsana Paudel, a student at Bryn Mawr College. Tirsana is committed to peacemaking and uses her artistic gifts to raise awareness about the need for peace with justice.
Download the Just Peace Handbook
In 2015, the 30th General Synod held in Cleveland, OH marked the UCC’s 30th anniversary as a Just Peace Church and called for a renewal of the UCC’s Just Peace witness. This booklet is intended to accompany this resolution and be a resource for all levels and areas of the church for further work and witness, especially to local congregations declaring or recommitting themselves as “Just Peace Churches.” This resource includes a summary of the historical and theological uniqueness of the Just Peace vision; the biblical and theological grounding for Just Peace values; and recommended steps for how to become a Just Peace Church. (Download.)
Shortly after 9/11, the U.S. began using armed drones, catching the attention of many people of faith and conscience concerned with Just Peace. The UCC has been part of an interfaith effort to raise awareness about this important issue through the Interfaith Drone Network. This Just Peace Sunday is a perfect opportunity for you and your congregation to learn more about this issue and speak out with your members of congress about this abuse of technology.
- View the Interfaith Drone Network’s documentaries with your congregation, including “Moral and Safe? War, Peace, Drone Warfare and the Religious Community”
- Use the Interfaith Drone Network’s study guide
- ‘Getting to the Root’ reflection on armed drones by UCC Just Peace Intern Romee St. John
- Background article on drones and the violation of human rights by UCC Just Peace Intern Romee St. John
- “Just War, Just Peace and Drones” by Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Chicago Theological Seminary
- “Examples of Just Peace approaches” by Rev. Susan Hayward, United States Institute of Peace
No generation in history has put so much thought, energy and money into keeping itself safe and secure, but still we are not at peace.
Nonviolent resistance emerged as the technique of the movement, while love stood as the regulating idea. In other words, Christ furnished the spirit and motivation, while Ghandi furnished the method.
A rabbi told me that a town with two Jews would need three synagogues: The one I go to; The one you go to; and one neither one of us would be caught dead in. Christians are much the same. But Jesus' prophetic words assure us that someday, God's people will ALL be one – within and across faith groups.