- Worship Resource
19 June 2020
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Prince of Peace!
We write to invite you and your congregation to observe Peace Sunday together with brothers and sisters in the global Anabaptist church family on 20 September 2020. Accompanying this letter, we send worship and resource material that your churches may use in celebrating Peace Sunday this year.
The theme for this year’s Peace Sunday is: “When one member suffers, all members suffer: peace as accompaniment and solidarity.”
The biblical narrative tells us the story of a God who accompanies and walks with those who are disheartened, disenfranchised and those who suffer. It is also an invitation for those who believe in this God and who follow his Son Jesus Christ to see the interconnectedness of humanity and to recognize that when one is not well or is suffering, creation is not how it ought to be. If we are interested in embodying God’s peace and justice in this world, what happens to one affects and should also matter to others.
If we seek to be a Peace Church, we must, therefore, recognize our interconnectedness; we must accompany – be in solidarity with – those who suffer.
May these resources help us in this pursuit.
Rationale for Peace Sunday
Following the recommendation of the 2003 Peace Council in Bulawayo regarding the establishment of Peace Sunday, the 2006 Peace Commission in Pasadena chose the Sunday nearest to 21 September (International Day of Peace) as a Peace Sunday to be observed by Mennonite World Conference member churches.
The International Day of Peace was established by the United Nations Resolution on 30 November 1981 to be observed for the first time on the third Tuesday of September 1982 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. Later, the UN General Assembly set 21 September as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace.
The resolution states that observing and celebrating the International Day of Peace “strengthen[s] the ideals of peace and alleviat[es] tensions and causes of conflict.” It declares “...the International Day of Peace shall henceforth be observed as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence, an invitation to all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities for the duration of the Day.” It invites non-governmental organizations and individuals “to commemorate, in an appropriate manner, the International Day of Peace, including through education and public awareness, and to cooperate with the United Nations in the establishment of the global ceasefire.”
In light of this, the Mennonite World Conference Peace Commission, beginning on 11 March 2006, decided that
- The Sunday nearest to 21 September (the International Day of Peace) would be designated as a Peace Sunday to be observed in our churches around the world. For 2020, this will be 20 September.
- The MWC Peace Commission staff would prepare suggestions for Scripture readings, prayer concerns, reflections from our global communion and ideas of activities to help churches observe this day.
- Churches are invited to report back to the Peace Commission about their activities for this day. Please send stories and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Churches who already observe a different Sunday as Peace Sunday are encouraged to continue with their practice, and are invited to include the global church concerns in their prayers on the global Peace Sunday.
MWC would like to hear how you observed Peace Sunday. If you have stories or reports of activities and worship events in your congregations, please send them to email@example.com so that we can share them with our global church community.
God’s blessings to you as you continue your work towards Christ’s peace!
Yours in Christ’s peace,
Andrew G. Suderman,
Secrétaire de la Commission Paix