For the children of the world . . .
That's the title of an appeal
made at the end of the 1990´s from twenty Nobel Peace Prize winners to the
schools and churches, communities and nations of the world, inviting us
to promote new ways of dealing with the conflicts and violence that surround
All too many children grow up immersed in violence. While some progress
has been made in addressing the violence in our world, a new emphasis could
help a lot.
The Decade for a Culture of Peace 2001-2010 was and still is a unique opportunity for us: a decade-long
focus on building a culture of peace and nonviolence in every part of our
lives, from schools and churches, to neighborhoods and the world.
keeping the ball rolling
Talk with others in your congregation who have an interest in peacemaking
Make reconciliation part of your prayer life. Pray for those in conflict
in your congregation, and elsewhere . . . Express your gratitude for peacemaking
in your family, school, community, and among nations.
Improve your skills of conflict transformation and apply them in your
family, congregation, workplace . . .
Add a book or magazine on peace with justice to your reading . . . Use
the web to explore peace ideas . . .
Find out what peace and justice groups are doing in your community and
globally (Lutheran Peace Fellowship, Bread for the World, Fellowship of
Reconciliation . . . )
Bring your values of peace with justice into decisions at work shopping
investing volunteer activity
The Decade for a Culture of Peace offered many possibilities for curriculum
units, conversations, workshops, and parent/ teacher meetings that are still relevant and useful today. Here are
several outstanding resources that explore the biblical vision of peacemaking:
A Brief Overview of LPF Resources for Leaders
LPF's most popular and effective activities and resources for leaders.
Conflict Transformation, Nonviolence, and Justice: An Annotated Guide to Over 400 Outstanding Books, Manuals, Audiovisuals, and Web Sites
Families Living the Pledge of Nonviolence: twenty useful family activities,
Advent to Lent (free from Women of the ELCA, 800-528-3522).
For the Peace of the Whole World: five creative, engaging bible studies
for women (Augsburg Fortress, $4, #69-3924, 800/328-4648).
Peace by Lowell Erdahl: thought-provoking, brief bible studies on peace
in Ephesians, (Augsburg Fortress, $2.50, op, avail. from LPF).
Peace Education for Young Children: helps early educators create an environment
where all children feel valued, safe, and able to deal with conflict (ELEA,
The Politics of Jesus, John H. Yoder, insightful exploration of nonviolence
in Luke (Eerdmans).
Shalom! Toward a More Effective, More Faithful Approach to Conflict and Violence - Our most popular essay explores a more faithful and effective approach to conflict and violence: it is an eye-opening overview, with annotated resource list.
of Nonviolence Training - Annotated listing of outstanding groups.
is Christian Peacemaking? - This popular activity explores the breadth and depth of the biblical vision of Shalom, peace, justice, community, wholeness. One to six session resource with additional questions and activities to build on or expand the impact of "Jesus’ Way of Shalom"
2 page version, 8 page version.
¿Qué significa pacificación cristiana? - el papel de pacificador esta enraizado en nuestra experiencia de un Dios quien es paz, quien nos da paz, y quien nos llama a ser parte de la paz y la justicia.
videos and films
A Force More Powerful is a new film about the power and spirit of nonviolence
shown on public television Sept. 18 and 25.
Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace, is the story of a Lutheran pastor and hero
of the resistance in Nazi Germany. Monte Carlo film festival winner, it
is sponsored by Aid Association for Lutherans; AAL is sharing copies with
Lutheran schools and congregations. Read some of his famous quotes.
International Day of Non-Violence -
Gandhi's Birthday - October 2nd - includes videos about Gandhi´s life and philosophy of nonviolence.
Jesus Third Way: Walter Wink and James Lawson explore Jesus' active,
creative nonviolent approach to injustice and conflict. (available from
the Fellowship of Reconciliation [FOR], 845-356-4601, www.forusa.org).
Nonviolence for the Violent - Video of Walter Wink's explanation of the "Third Way" of Jesus. Illustrating "turn the other cheek", "offer your coat as well", and "go the second mile" with lively demonstrations (in 5 parts).
New Faces of Courage: conversations and interviews from a youth conference
on a Global Peace Service, with an excellent booklet of readings (from ELCA
Commission for Women or LPF).
Where There is Hatred examines cases of nonviolent social change in Eastern
Europe, the Philippines, Chile, and Palestine (Maryknoll Films, 800-227-8523,
or from FOR, see above).
Other feature films, available in video stores, include Weapons of the
Spirit, Gandhi, Romero, and A Long Walk Home.
Using Films to Teach Peace & Justice, Media Violence, Audiovisual Tools for Peacemakers
The best group discussion and activity program we've seen is From Violence
to Wholeness, used effectively with 100s of church groups. Assisted by Pace
e Bene, which developed the ten-part program, Lutheran Peace Fellowship
is working with congregations and leaders across the U.S. in weekend workshops
and weekly discussion series, supported by an Innovations
grant from Aid Association for Lutherans (AAL). We've also developed
a 50-page supplement of materials and resources for the program. (See back
The best program for youth groups we've seen is called Help Increase
the Peace. Like From Violence to Wholeness it has gone through several periods
of testing and revision and places the emphasis on participatory activities,
not just talk. HIP trainers are in 19 states; an introductory video rents
for $5+S&H; their superb manual is $25 (AFSC, 4806 York Rd., Baltimore,
MD 21212-4423, 410/323-7200, email@example.com
What Was the Decade for Peace?
Hundreds of Lutheran congregations, school groups, synods, and churchwide
organizations endorsed the Nobel Decade for Peace, making a commitment
"to teach, practice, and model nonviolence," in the words of the
LPF resolution used by most groups. The Decade was proposed in an Appeal
by twenty Nobel Peace Laureates, the largest number ever to support a single
initiative. A year after the first Lutheran endorsements, the UN General
Assembly designated the years 2001-2010 to be the "International Decade
for Culture of Peace and Nonviolence."
An excellent way to encourage activity in your school, student group,
or congregation is to discuss and endorse the Nobel Decade resolution and
become a part of all the activity and possibilities of the coming Decade
LPF has prepared model resolutions for Lutheran and secular schools,
congregations, community groups, city councils, university groups, etc.
These are available free from LPF and are also posted
on our web site (at the bottom).
on the web
LutheranPeace.org reaches Lutheran Peace
Fellowship fact sheets, articles, worship materials, Decade for Peace activities,
resolutions, and links.
www.elca.org/resources/theological-discernment this site has
resources from a wide variety of ELCA programs.
www.forusa.org the Fellowship of Reconciliation
(FOR) offers information on many peacemaking activities; their Decade pages
are stimulating and well designed.
www.ifor.org the International Fellowship
of Reconciliation (ifor) is a key Decade leader in many areas of the world.
www.nonviolence.org click on
"full listings" to access several dozen of the best groups (including
LPF, FOR, IFOR, and the Baptist, Episcopal, Jewish, and Muslim peace fellowships).
www.unesco.org is the web site of
the lead UN agency on the Decade: click on "culture of peace."
helping us focus
For many people, a commitment or pledge can be a useful tool to help
focus their attention on peacemaking in their daily lives. LPF members are
finding this discipline helpful.
Families Living the Pledge of Nonviolence: twenty great family activities
(free from Women of the ELCA, 800-528-3522).
Family Pledge of Nonviolence (free), booklet ($5), school and church
kits (Families Against Violence Advocacy Network, 4144 Lindell Blvd., St.
Louis, MO 63108, 314-533-4445, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Disarming the Heart by John Dear explores in rich detail the growing
practice of professing a vow of nonviolence and how it can lead to new depth
in discipleship (Paulist Press, 1993)
LPF packet on the pledge of nonviolence with several examples of pledges,
vows, and commitments of nonviolence (free).
Day of Prayer for Peace Resource, and Peace Litany
Joining Hearts, Hands and Voices to Leave No Child Behind, A guide to
the national observance of Children's Sabbath: worship, education, outreach
and advocacy on the needs of children (Children's Defense Fund, 202-662-3652).
A Call to Peace by Jim McGinnis: 52 meditations on the Family Pledge
of Nonviolence (see above, Liguori, 1998, $5).
Our Prayers Rise Like Incense, edited by Cindy Pile: 50 complete liturgies
on peace and justice themes (Pax Christi, 532 West 8th St, Erie, PA 16502;
Peace Worship Resources: sixty pages of prayers, sermons, songs, lectionary
aids (LPF, $5); worship guides, sermons (free).
O Come Let Us Worship: a chapel guide for young children (ELEA); Guide
My Feet, ed. by Marian Wright Edelman, prayers (Beacon).
There are many dates both in the church year and in the secular calendar
that can be used as a focus for peace with justice activity. Here are a
few in the fall and winter months:
Sept. 19, UN Day of Peace
Oct. 2, International Day of Non-Violence -
Birthday of Gandhi, nonviolence innovator
Oct. 4, feast day of St. Francis of Assisi
Oct. 16-24, ELCA peace week, ELCA worship guide available
Nov. 11, Veterans Day, feast day of St. Martin of Tours (early conscientious
objector) and Martin Luther
Dec. 10, UN Human Rights Day
Dec. 28, Holy Innocents
Jan. 1, World Day of Peace
Jan. 17, birth of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Feb. 4, birth of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
While there are beneficial and occasionally even inspiring television
shows, movies and video games, researchers and parents alike are disturbed
by the impact of the violence in media today. Schools can play an important
and helpful role.
The Center for Media Literacy offers a wonderful series of video programs
for schools, churches, and families that teach skills and encourage group
discussion (1962 S. Shenandoah, Los Angeles 90034; 800-226-9494, www.medialit.org)
What to Do After You Turn Off the TV by Frances Moore Lappe is one of
many books that offer tips on the question of the title.
Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill by Dave Grossman and Gloria deGaetano
summarizes the links between media violence and violent youth behavior and
offers a plan of action.
Cynicism about politics is widespread these days. If you need encouragement
that citizen involvement can make a difference, look at the successes of
Bread for the World and other hunger lobbies over the past 20 years. They
are currently working on debt relief for the world's poorest countries which
would lift millions out of poverty and alleviate a major source of conflict
and violence. The Hunger Relief Act would greatly reduce hunger in the U.S.
Citizens and experts across the political spectrum are raising questions
about weapons systems like Trident II and National Missile Defense that
are destabilizing, threaten arms control agreements, and are very costly.
Lutherans are actively expressing their concern for peace and justice
in many other ways: e.g. by participating in local Crop Walks, the Million
Mom March, Jubilee 2000 lobbying, protesting Iraq sanctions and the School
of the Americas
The ELCA Washington Office offers reliable information
and advocacy help on many legislative and policy proposals, 202/783-7501 www.elca.org/advocacy/ Other good sources include
Bread for the World, 301/608-2500, www.bread.org and Jubilee 2000, 202/783-3566, www.j2000usa.org
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light,
not our darkness that most frightens us.
Your playing small doesn't help the world. There's
nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure
As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our
fear, our presence liberates others.
reading to grow
Read for personal and professional growth. Invite colleagues or parents
to join you. In addition to the fine books described above, here are four
terrific new publications:
Peace Is the Way, edited by Walter Wink, is a very rich and perceptive
collection of brief essays on nonviolence (Orbis, 2000, $20). Also check out Nonviolence for the Violent - Walter Wink - video series on our website.
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Spirit-Led Prophet, by Richard Deats is a brief,
well-written biography emphasizing the spiritual roots of King's activity
and writing (New City, 2000, $12).
The Powers That Be (Doubleday, 1999, $13) concise version of Walter Wink's
classic book, Engaging the Powers (Augsburg Fortress, $23), both are remarkably
rich in stories and insight.
Transforming Violence, edited by Robert and Judy Zimmerman Herr is an
fine anthology covering a range of options (Herald, 1999, $13)
Waging Peace in Our Schools by Linda Lantieri and Janet Patti is an excellent
overview on the subject (Beacon, 1996, $12)
the hidden violence
Every 15 seconds a woman is physically assaulted in her own home. Child
abuse is equally prevalent, is destructive in its own right, and at the
same time, sows the seeds for much of the violence in our society. The Center
for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence offers very well-crafted video
programs to help church and school groups understand domestic violence and
develop appropriate responses. (936 North 34th St., Seattle, WA 98103; 206-634-1903,
sharing the stories
For many of us, a good way to grasp the meaning of peacemaking today
is through the lives and activities and choices of inspiring peace and justice
heroes like Bonhoeffer,
Gandhi, King, Rosa Parks, Dorothy Day, Nelson Mandela, and Oscar Romero,
to name a few. LPF has assembled over a hundred such stories throughout
history into a popular display called the Path of Hope. This exhibit has
been experienced by 120 classes, groups, and conferences. Constructing one
is a superb class or youth project (a how-to kit is available free from
Lutheran Peace Fellowship).
arts, music, drama
We can do a lot to help express the spirit of a Culture
of Peace and Nonviolence by making use of individuals and groups in our
school or church with gifts in music, the visual arts, poetry, drama, dance,
strength for the journey
Maintain a devotional life that supports growth in your vision and actions
toward peace, justice, and wholeness.
Nourish yourself by reading publications that explore peace and justice
issues from a faith perspective. Subscribe to periodicals like Fellowship,
PeaceNotes, The Other Side, Sojourners, and LOGA's free Legislative Update.
A prevalent theme in the New Testament is encouragement in discipleship.
Carry these verses into your life:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again, Rejoice! Let your commitment
to peace and reconciliation be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not
be anxious about anything The God of Peace will be with you. Philippians
Lutheran Peace Fellowship's work on the Decade for Peace receives support
from Aid Association for Lutherans (AAL); the ELCA Division for Church in
Society; ELCA Commission for Women; Women of the ELCA; and from congregations,
synods, and individuals. We are deeply grateful for their assistance.