The Peace with Justice Program aims to make shalom visible and active in people's lives and communities. The General Conference assigned the General Board of Church and Society to implement the program and called the church to "strengthen its capacity to act as a public policy advocate" in communities and nations throughout the world.
The Old Testament speaks of God's sovereignty in terms of covenant, more particularly the "covenant of peace" with Israel, which binds that people of God's shalom (Isaiah 54:10; Ezekiel 37:20). In the covenant of shalom, there is no contradiction between justice and peace or between peace and security or between love and justice (Jeremiah 29:7). In Isaiah's prophecy, when "the spirit is poured upon us from on high," we will know that these laws of God are one and indivisible: "Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places" (Isaiah 32:16-18, NRSV).
The Peace with Justice Covenant Congregation Program aims to make shalom — a word of greeting or farewell meaning peace — visible and active in people’s lives and communities. The General Conference assigned The General Board of Church & Society to put into service the program and called the denomination to “strengthen its capacity to act as a public advocate” in communities and nations throughout the world.
‘Hate Hurts, Peace Heals’
Children are invited to make peace a priority this month, both at home and abroad. "Hate Hurts, Peace Heals" is a multi-faceted initiative, led by children, to engage all generations in the United Methodist Peace with Justice Special Sunday, which is May 31 this year, but can be observed at any time amenable to a congregation’s programming schedule.
“Hate Hurts, Peace Heals,” will include, a reading list on peace for children and Sunday school classes, an opportunity to submit original prayers for peace, and gathering offerings for peace. The offerings should be presented during the local church’s Peace with Justice observance.
“Every child deserves to live in communities of peace,” Henry-Crowe said. “This month, we invite families, friends and congregations to read, pray and give towards peace for our communities and around the world,” said the Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, general secretary of the General Board of Church & Society.
- You can use a downloadable invitation suitable for worship bulletins to help spread the word about this endeavor to engage us all, including the youngest in our communities, to live into God's vision of peace. The invitation describing the aspects of “Hate Hurts, Peace Heals” can be shared in local congregations, Wesley Foundations and United Methodist Women’s circles, for example.
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu's God's Dream is the suggested first book to read this month. A companion study guide has been prepared to facilitate discussions.
- A comprehensive reading list is available also with books broken down by subject and age appropriatness.
- A "Prayers for Peace Lesson Plan" has been developed with a worksheet to help children write their prayers.
- More information can be obtained at “Hate Hurts, Peace Heals.”
- Other resources are available such as a Peace with Justice e-book that describes 15 ways to observe the Special Sunday, along with basic information about the Special Sunday itself.
Original prayers should be sent to the General Board of Church & Society, 100 Maryland Ave., NE, Washington, D.C. 20002, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.