Just Peace Sunday

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.

In 2020, Just Peace Sunday is September 20th

Seeking Racial Equity and a Just Economy

The theme for Just Peace Sunday 2020 is based on the lectionary passage in Matthew 20 in which the owner of the vineyard suggests a form of economic relations not based on a transactional sense of fairness, but a deeper call to justice and restoration. “You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” (Matthew 20:4) 

This year, Just Peace Sunday takes place at a time in which systemic racism is being exposed not only through the repeated examples of physical violence against black lives as witnessed in the shootings of Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others; but also through the generational economic violence that has come sharply into focus this year. The economic violence of slavery, white supremacy, and racism has had a generational impact on black communities and has created the racial wealth gap we see today, a gap in which the net worth of white households is about 10 times that of black households. We are only now starting to uncover the full impact of this gap, but one such metric today are the unequal health outcomes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The inequities of today have never been so clear, challenging us to seek a deeper call to reparative justice and that is based not on what is owed, but on what is “right.” As a Just Peace Church, we are called to take seriously this call to do what is right, seeking racial equity and a just economy for all

Rev. Michael Neuroth

View this introduction to Just Peace Sunday recorded by our former UCC General Minister and President, Rev. Geoffrey Black. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RhKTnrdnAU&feature=youtu.be

Observe Just Peace Sunday! Here are some resources to use in your congregation:

Worship Resources

Educational Resources

Get Involved in the UCC Economic Justice movement!

Check out the UCC’s Economic Justice Webpage for information on a range of issues including worker justice, globalization and trade, inequality, tax reform, and more!

More to come! – More resources will be posted as we get closer to Just Peace Sunday. If you are interested in contributing a prayer, litany, or sermon, please email Rev. Michael Neuroth.

Art for Just Peace Sunday

Facebook Twitter Logo/Bulletin

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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 peace doves 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.

Peace Dove Craft

Children from all over the world fold paper cranes each year as symbols of hope and peace. These cranes are in memory of the story of Sadako Sasaki who died of radiation induced leukemia in 1955, but not after inspiring the world through her folded cranes. Read Sadako’s story here. In folding, we echo Sadako’s hope for the world: This is our cry, This is our prayer, Peace in the world. 

This year, we will be folding Peace Doves which are as symbols of hope, peace, transformation, endurance, and life. These doves will also highlight our new Just Peace logo that includes a purple dove. See if you can find purple origami paper at a craft story near you or online, and refer to these instruction for how to fold

  • Download the Peace Doves activity here.
  • While your children are crafting consider inviting them to sing along with music about peacemaking.
  • Consider sending pictures, or the actual doves, 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 neurothm@ucc.org.

The Peace Dove Craft was created by Tirsana Paudel, a recent graduate of Bryn Mawr College. Tirsana is committed to peacemaking and uses her artistic gifts to raise awareness about the need for peace with justice.

Study Resources

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.)

Find additional resources here.

What is Just Peace? 

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!