The 2016 Season of Peace is under way, with the theme “Come to the Table of Peace.” The emphasis is designed to encourage congregations to seek or enhance their focus on becoming peacemakers.
The Season of Peace leads up to World Communion Sunday, the first Sunday in October. Various denominations observe World Communion Sunday, which promotes Christian unity and ecumenical cooperation. In the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) the Season of Peace culminates with the receiving of the Peace & Global Witness Offering on the first Sunday in October.
“We have celebrated World Communion Sunday as a denomination for quite a long time,” said Carl Horton, coordinator for the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. “This is a day when Christians gather at the table around the world and focus our hearts and minds on the things that make for peace.”
Horton said the Season of Peace takes on special significance this year as the United States has dealt with violence and conflict both domestically and abroad.
“In the U.S., we are constantly faced with situations of violence, whether it is gun or public violence, race-based violence, or violence involving or against law enforcement,” said Horton. “We also have no shortage of conflict right now. With a highly charged presidential campaign and issues involving refugees and immigration policy, it does seem this year that a Season of Peace is more timely than ever. It is a time where we encourage Presbyterians to consider their peacemaking work, their call to be peacemakers, and their engagement with communities locally and worldwide to take meaningful action, whatever that looks like.”
He added that the Season of Peace invites congregations to engage in peacemaking as they define it.
“It even raises the issue of civility, because all the rules of discourse seem to have been thrown out the window this year. We need to learn again how to speak to each other,” Horton said. “Presbyterians have a history of taking on difficult topics and finding our way through conflict and disagreement. There are lessons in this Season of Peace that hopefully we can share with others as it relates to civility, respect of neighbor, and compassion.”
The call to peace is a Christian mandate, he added. “This is Christ’s call to us. We who follow the Prince of Peace bring Christ’s peace to each other. The outcome, we hope, is a renewed sense in the PC(USA) of our identity as peacemakers and a desire to reach every troubled corner of this world with the good news of Christ’s peace.”
Rick Jones, Communications Strategist, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Today’s Focus: 2016 Season of Peace
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Mission Co-workers:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Heavenly father, your unconditional love inspires us to be loving, welcoming, and hospitable to our neighbors. Pour into our hearts your compassion; strengthen and guide us as we go forth to make your kingdom tangible. Grant us your peace and surround us with your presence. Amen.