What Does the Lord Require of You? A Peace With Justice Sunday?

May 15, 2009

By Mary Liebke

CA-NV Annual Conference Peace With Justice Coordinator

 

The photo above shows a significant step in the journey that four Grass Valley United Methodist young people are taking, to help bring peace to their community.

 

After discussion about what peace entails and what a "Peace Pole" could mean, they presented their findings and a request to the Church Council, members of which voted unanimously for the planting "of a Peace Pole in the church's rose garden on Peace With Justice Sunday, June 7."

 

It is thought that the words, "May Peace Prevail on Earth," printed in four languages among the roses and peace lilies on the 8 ft. pole, will perhaps engender thoughts of peace in those of good will who pass by - perhaps influencing them, as one of the children said, to "react with kindness to the next person who is mean to them."

 

(To find out more about Peace Poles and great ideas for dedication ceremonies, go on line to the Peace Pole Project and to Peace Poles United Nations. There is a Peace Pole in the lobby of United Nations headquarters, where everyone is invited to place a prayer or message of peace inside the hollow pole.)

 

Along with the Peace Pole, the children will plant prayers for peace as well as sending prayers to Bethlehem as part of World Week for Peace in Palestine/Israel. (For more information on World Week for Peace, visit www.worldweekforpeace.org, a joint action for a just peace convened by the World Council of Churches.)

 

This "planting" at Grass Valley UMC will be a part of the Peace with Justice Worship Service on June 7, which will include the video clip, "Forgive The World," along with special bulletin inserts, collection envelopes, and more found at

www.umcgiving.org/PWJS.

 

It is hoped that your PwJ worship service will inspire and offer your own congregation the opportunities to care for the environment, eradicate poverty, feed hungry people, mediate conflict, model peace, supply health care, and so on, by "…giving as much as you can…" on Peace with Justice Sunday.

 

Door to Justice

On June 7, 2009, celebrate Peace With Justice Sunday - a Churchwide Special Sunday of The United Methodist Church. This Door to Justice empowers United Methodists to work for peace, love, and compassion for God's children everywhere.

 

Half of the offering for this Special Sunday, Peace With Justice Sunday, is remitted to the General Board of Church and Society to help fund U.S. and global work in social action, public-policy education, and advocacy - while half is retained in our Conference to fund local peace with justice programs.

 

Peace with Justice Grants

Our General Board of Church and Society awarded 28 Peace with Justice grants this year, including one to the Water Justice Project, a project of Earth Justice Ministries in our Conference, "People of Faith Working Together for a Peaceful, Just and Sustainable World," Sharon Delgado, Executive Director. It will educate people in churches about the growing scarcity of fresh water and will advocate for protection of water resources. A day-long conference with an advocacy component will be organized in Sacramento in 2010 for United Methodists from the California-Nevada Annual Conference.

 

2008 California-Nevada Annual Conference PwJ grants included the following:

 

  1. Sierra Service Project, "A Cross-Border Pilot Program in Tijuana, Mexico" for high school youth. Focus on immigration - the impact of economic and political forces of the U.S. and Mexico, and how they affect lives - especially lives of youth.
  2. Wesley Foundation, UC Berkeley, "Your Faith Matters" program to foster student exploration of faith and their faith call to address issues of peace and justice, both locally and globally.
  3. Castro Valley UMC, "The Green Church - An Eco-healthy and Environmentally Friendly Church," will highlight sustainability efforts for the church and resource members to explore environmental commitment in personal lifestyles. Also a community outreach.
  4. Pine UMC, San Francisco, "CityLight Fellowship LGBT Bible Study" - one retreat and event.
  5. First UMC, Carson City, "Identity Assistance in Carson City," to help transient and homeless people obtain proof of identity so that they may qualify for assistance programs.
  6. Epworth UMC, Berkeley, "Art and Faith in Action," summer program for 6-16 year olds, with intentional activities geared to having children think creatively about peace and justice issues.
  7. Care for God's Creation, Davis, for "The Breath of Life" conference in May, focusing on air pollution, not only as a health issue but also an environmental justice issue; practical actions provided.
  8. Jones Memorial UMC, San Francisco, for "Jump-Prep Development/Community Outreach," an after-school program at Jones UMC. Funds to help survey a changing community with high crime and gang issues, through contact with parents to obtain needs and viewpoints.
  9. Reno First UMC, Reno, for "Year 41 of Dr. King's Death: Wilderness or Promised," for many projects under the umbrella title, from immigration to anniversaries around Dr. King's birth and death.
  10. CA-NV Annual Conference Immigration Task Force, for "I am a Stranger, Will You Welcome Me?" event - for immigrant and ally churches to learn more about what they can do in their communities regarding immigration.
  11. Kevin Horikoshi, Berkeley/Alameda, for participation in the Ethnic Young Adult Internship Program in Washington, D.C.

 

All Churches in the CA-NV Annual Conference were sent packets recently, which included suggestions on how to present a Peace With Justice Sunday. The packets also contained a PwJ grant application with guidelines.

 

Contact your PwJ Coordinator, Mary Liebke, at mliebke@yahoo.com or 530.273.3678 for more information about the grants - and visit www.umcgiving.org/PWJS for good resources for your Peace With Justice Sunday worship services and activities.