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World Christian Leaders Affirm Promise of Peace

In observance of the International Day of Peace (IDOP) on Sept 21, world Christian leaders joined with UN in praying and testifyiing to the promise of peace amid war, oppression, and violence.
( [email protected] ) Sep 22, 2005 05:01 PM EDT

In observance of the International Day of Peace (IDOP) on Sept 21, world Christian leaders prayed and testified to the promise of peace amid war, oppression, and violence.

"When the world is at war in so many places and the forces of violence, war and oppression seem to be increasing, prayer for peace may seem to be a futile exercise. But we Christians believe both in the power and in the promise of peace, and we also believe in the power of prayer," General Secretary Rev. Samuel Kobia from the World Council of Churches (WCC) said.

Similarly, Chairman of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany Wolfgang Huber said, "There are currently many crisis areas in the world, where the power of violence appears to be unbroken. But whenever people trust in the spirit of peace in the name of Jesus Christ, they experience that it is a realistic force to be reckoned with, and that possibilities open up."

The IDOP joined nations of leaders together who agreed that violence needs to start locally in order for it to have an effect on the world.

"We are called to be peace-makers. Profound words like shanti, salaam and shalom should not only be chanted but also practiced in our families, in our work places, in our communities, in our day-to-day lives," said General Secretary of the Christian Conference in Asia Ahn Jae Woong, who promotes peace by focusing on ending racism, religious intolerance, and violence in Asia.

The IDOP was established by a UN resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. In 2002, the UN General Assembly set Sept 21 as the permanent date for the IDOP.

This is the second year that WCC, an ecumenical council of churches, and their member churches joined with the UN’s IDOP.

The WCC incorporated the IDOP in their Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV): Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace (2001-2010), which is an ecumenical movement calling churches, and organizations to work together for peace, justice and reconciliation. This year the DOV is focusing on the U.S.

From the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, Thomas L. Hoyt, Jr. said, "Thanks for extending words of Shalom on our behalf as we all pray for and work for the coming of God's peace, with justice. We believe that there is no peace without justice. We will also work in the spirit of Christ, knowing that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. We celebrate the God who liberates and reconciles."

Next year the DOV will focus on Asia.