Ideas for Churches and Faith Communities:
What Can You Do to Address Violence and Create a Culture of Peace?
All churches are invited to participate in the International Day of Prayer for Peace on September 21 co-sponsored by the UN and World Council of Churches.
Ideas implemented by various churches:
- Enhance members' understanding of the deeper spiritual meaning of peace and the biblical understanding of peace and justice as the foundation.
- Support current efforts to address peace and justice issues. Speak about these issues from the pulpit. Encourage people to join groups to implement suggested actions.
- Equip people of all ages to live non-violent lives and promote peace. Establish peace education programs for children, youth and adults.
- Equip, support and recognize individuals and groups who are devoted to addressing violence and promoting peace in the community, nation and world.
- Help members learn how to engage in creative and respectful conflict.
- Teach peacemaking through the use of games, the arts, music, videos and storytelling.
- Create a peace mission statement for the church and identify ways to put it into practice.
- Raise awareness of economic justice, restorative justice, cultural appreciation and inclusion, and global concerns.
- Support victims of domestic and street violence. Make people aware of violence in TV, videos, etc. Help families examine what their children are doing and watching in the media.
- Provide training on parenting and job seeking.
- Speak out against abuse of all kinds.
- Invite children and youth to do Artwork around the theme “Hands and Hearts are made for healing and helping, not for hurting.” Use poetry, prose, painting, clay and other means to participate. Display the work in the church or school and celebrate the participants.
- Help prepare people for jobs. Invite Workforce Development Center to bring some the programs to help local people around the church site.
- Get involved in mentoring.
- Identify several blocks around your church and get to know the families, their issues and needs and help address them.
- Start a youth group with a spiritual base and a mission in mind. Such groups are growing in popularity.
Can you think of additional ways for churches to help create a Culture of Peace?
What Can Individuals and Families Do?
- Working together with others is key. A group can do things an individual cannot accomplish alone.
- Join with people of other cultures, faith expressions, to accomplish goals.
- Look within your family structure. Is there violence in the way we think, talk about others, relate to each other, in the movies or videos viewed?
- Consider the impact of toys, games, clothes designed for children and youth.
- Know where your children and youth are and what they are doing. Teach them accountability for their actions.
- Get to know your neighbors.
- Name some things you can do to create a peaceful family. Restore broken relationships.
- Take time to pray with your family. Develop positive attitudes, and gratefulness for all the blessings we enjoy.
- Be a role model for children every day.
- Work at eliminating domestic violence.
What are your suggestions for families and individuals?
What Can Schools Do?
- Teach peace at all levels, starting in day care and all the way through to adulthood.
- Observe children’s behaviors in the classroom, in the playground, the hallways, etc. Teach them to relate respectfully and courteously to each other.
- Share stories of children and adults who are “Instruments of God’s peace.”
- Address bullying and other violent behaviors.
- Find mentors for children without a supportive family and without hope.
Add your ideas for schools.
What will you do to help create a Culture of Peace?
What will your congregation do?