The World Council of Churches (WCC) is calling on Christians worldwide to observe the International Day of Prayer for Peace on Sept. 21.
Observances of the peace prayer day began in 2004 as part of the ecumenical Decade to Overcome Violence (2001–2010) following an agreement between the heads of the WCC and the United Nations (UN).
This year, the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) of the World Council of Churches will also observe World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel Sept. 21 to Sept. 27. The theme chosen for the week is “Let my people go!” The forum invites member churches, faith-based communities and civil society groups around the world “to join together in 2014 for a week of advocacy and action in support of an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine and a just peace for all in Palestine and Israel.” It recommends that congregations and individuals stage “peaceful actions, together, to create a common international public witness.”
The Anglican Church of Canada is a member of the WCC, which brings together churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories, representing over 500 million Christians globally. At the end of 2013, there were 345 member churches.
Sept. 21 is also the United Nations-sponsored International Day of Peace. Since a resolution establishing Sept. 21 as the day was unanimously adopted by the General Assembly in 2001, the UN has invited all nations and people to “honour a cessation of hostilities and to otherwise observe the day through education and public awareness of issues related to peace.”
The non-profit organization Pathways to Peace is also encouraging people to observe the day. On a website for the International Day of Peace, organizers say: “Anyone, anywhere can celebrate Peace Day. It can be as simple as lighting a candle at noon, sitting in silent meditation, or doing a good deed for someone you don’t know. Or it can involve getting your co-workers, organization, community or government engaged in a large event. You can also share thoughts, messages and pictures to commemorate Peace Day on social media.”
The site invites participants to share information about what they are doing to observe the day or to use the Twitter hashtag @PeaceDay.