Opinion

Interfaith Initiative of Centre County | Send out a call for peace

“May peace prevail on Earth, in our nation, in our communities, in our families, and may it begin in my heart.”

For more than 30 years the United Nations has worked and called for armistice and cease-fire in every conflict on Earth for at least one day every year: Peace Day.

In coordination with this, since 2004, the World Council of Churches and other faith communities have called for an international/interfaith Day of Prayer for Peace.

Peace Day, on or about Sept. 21 each year, is rising in significance as a day for people of faith and good will to lift prayers and actions for peace. This year, hundreds of thousands of people around the world will participate in creative action and prayer for peace.

The International Day of Peace/Interfaith Day of Prayer for Peace — Sept. 21-22 — prayer vigil and speaker are sponsored by Interfaith Initiative Centre County and Penn State’s Center for Ethics and Religious Affairs

You know the underlying divisions that may exist in your own community or neighborhood, sometimes even your own family — and the ways you or your group may experience brokenness and hurt.

God’s love for all humanity calls us together to cross the boundaries of hurt, hard-heartedness and social division.

With God’s power, our own hearts are changed for peace and we move into the streets to proclaim and pray for peace.

What journey from hatred to compassion do you need to make in your own life?

Last month in this space I wrote of a startlingly brave, honest and intense young man, Andrew Bowen, who journeyed from hatred to compassion in a 12-month pilgrimage through many religious faiths — using all the faith, assets and strength he had — resulting in his becoming an activist for interfaith reconciliation and peace.

Bowen wrote a book, “Project Conversion: One Man, Twelve Faiths, One Year,” and will share his fascinating story Sept. 22 at Eisenhower Chapel on the Penn State campus. A reception with refreshments will follow.

“While you are proclaiming peace with your lips,” St. Francis of Assisi said, “be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.”

There will be a special opportunity to think deeply about peace before Bowen’s visit. Interfaith Initiative Centre County, along with the Centre for Ethics and Religious Affairs at Penn State are sponsoring a midday interfaith peace prayer vigil Sept. 21 beginning at the Penn State Peace Pole outside Pasquerilla Spiritual Center and moving to the Allen Street gates.

Bring prayers for peace from your own tradition, or just come prepared to pray silently.

Choose a prayer focus for the Sept. 21 vigil from among the following:

• Safety and nurture, love and protection for all our young people, regardless of ethnicity or religion, color or nationality, immigrant status, gender or sexual orientation;



• An end to discrimination, prejudice, profiling and stereotyping;



• An end to harassment, stalking, intimidation, exploitation, abuse and other violence; or



• Other related concerns personally significant to participants



Who will you make peace with today?

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