About the 2017 Season of Peace
This four-week pilgrimage is designed to deepen the pursuit of peace for congregations, small groups, families, and individuals. Through daily “Path of Peace” reflections, “Peace Cards” for children and families, Bible and book studies for adults, children’s curriculum, an intergenerational peace fair, and other downloadable resources, Presbyterians are invited to define and deepen their calling as a peacemaker. This season is a time of encouragement, challenge, inspiration, and education.
While these resources are designed to culminate in the Peace & Global Witness Offering, they are appropriate for any time of the year. This year’s Season of Peace and its newest resources are designed to help Presbyterians explore the “Five Peacemaking Affirmations” recently approved by Presbyterian Church (USA). Through the 29 days of this year’s Season of Peace, we are invited to:Commit to the Gospel of Peace
- Confess our Complicity
- Reclaim Christ the Peacemaker
- Practice New Peace Strategies
- Transform our Structures and Work for Peace
Resources included in A Season of Peace:
Path of Peace Daily Reflections
Subscribe to daily reflections that will be delivered directly to your inbox September 3 – October 1, or download the entire set of reflections as a single file. Choose Path of Peace under Advocacy and Social Justice.
The Peace Fair is a hands-on, multisensory, intergenerational event that offers peace and justice learning activities.
There are 3 sets of 30 cards from which to choose. The cards can be placed in a central location such as a kitchen table. Peace cards can be used anywhere and with anyone—at meals or family gatherings, during fellowship at church, as icebreakers for study groups, or for in-depth conversations on long bus rides with youth. Use one card per day during A Season of Peace and let the conversations lead to new perspectives and practices for making peace.
Lessons from the Table is a five-session curriculum that focus on the communion table. It can be used with a broadly-graded children’s group in a variety of contexts.
Adult Bible Study
The Things that Make for Peace is a five-week adult study focusing on the inner and outer paths to peace as foundational to faithful discipleship. Each session has a “dig deeper” section for study throughout the week.
New for 2017
Adult Book Study
Risking Peace is a five or six session companion to the book Five Risks Presbyterians Must Take for Peace by Christian Iosso, published in 2017 by Westminster John Knox Press. The guide helps participants explore reflect upon and apply the five peacemaking affirmations approved by the 222nd General Assembly in 2016.
Children’s Coloring Poster
This reproducible original artwork is based on Ephesians 2: 14-17 and features the text “Peace to those who are near and those who are far away.” The wings of the dove have the word “peace” in 5 languages – Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish, Korean and English. Designed for the 2017 Season of Peace by the folks at Illustrated Children’s Ministry, the artwork can be downloadable in a variety of sizes – 8.5×11, 11×17, 24×36 and 36×48 (in color or black/white). It can be used as individual coloring sheets or enlarged to poster-size for a group coloring project through the weeks of the Season of Peace. You can have a local printer print the file onto poster or foam core board. Then put it up in a community room, narthex or fellowship hall, supply plenty of great coloring pens and invite folks to add color to the poster each week during the Season of Peace.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. – Luke 4:18–19
Jesus calls us to be peacemakers.
We see this every day as we experience our world’s need for Christ’s reconciling love, peace, and justice. We feel this as we long to know God’s peace in our hearts and relationships. The promise of Jesus “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9) is both a comfort and a challenge. It reminds us that the path of peace is something we both follow and forge.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus reads the Isaiah passage that would frame his en-fleshed life. It is here that he grounds his calling in the work of peace. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18–19).
In his identification with this ancient passage, Jesus declares what he sees his mission to be. This is peacemaking: preaching good news; proclaiming freedom and healing to those imprisoned; releasing those in oppression, proclaiming the time is now. It is both inspiring and daunting to recognize that each of us has been given that very same Holy Spirit, our own call entwined with Christ’s mission to be bearers of peace and justice. We know the world needs us to follow Christ as peacemakers so that we can all live and thrive in an unjust and conflict-ridden world. It is not an easy calling, but we embark on this pilgrimage together and with the presence and guidance of Jesus.
Distractions are everywhere, threatening to pull us to the margins of living an authentic peace-filled Christian life. Important issues, breaking news, and our ragged pursuit of a more meaningful spiritual life all distract us. We are reminded of this every time we power up our computers, turn on the television, or struggle to handle conflicts in our families and communities in a way that will not alienate them or us. And we certainly experience it as we negotiate our own inner worlds of chaos and longing.
The journey of peace is a pilgrimage of our whole selves: spirit and body; heart, feet, and mind. The pursuit of God’s peace is both an inner and outer journey where the well-being of one is held in the well-being of all. In order for us to walk farther along this road of peace-full living, we can and should engage both inner and outer aspects of faithful spiritual living. Doing so allows us to become more authentic and effective bearers of peace in our world.
Because of these reasons, we invite you into A Season of Peace that will engage your imagination and offer opportunities for you to live more fully into your calling as a peacemaker. It is for the curious and the jaded, the beginner and the experienced peace seeker. Spend an intentional “season” with Jesus, the peacemaker, and see if this might become your way of being authentically Christian in the world.
For over 30 years, the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have been committed to pursuing a peaceful and just world. Peace seekers and advocates, those who work and pray for reconciliation and justice, have found their home in the Presbyterian peacemaking community.
In 1980, the 192nd General Assembly adopted Peacemaking: The Believers’ Calling, a document that has guided Presbyterian peace efforts. It is no less critical today. The document declares, among other things, that “the church is obedient to Christ when it nurtures and equips God’s people as peacemakers.”
Download the guide
The Peace Fair is a hands-on, multisensory, intergenerational event that will offer peace and justice learning activities. The Peace Fair may be held as a kickoff to A Season of Peace, as a focus for World Communion Sunday, or at another time during the year. Congregations might consider joining with neighboring congregations for this event as a way to build community and to embody the work of peacemaking. Participants will receive a Peace Passport which will guide them through art, media, music, food, and other activities to explore peace as a community. Learning and activity stations will be created for multiple types of learning:
- World Café Bible study
- Antibullying pledge: “We are One”
- Canned food tower build
- Prayer center
- Craft table
- Drama center
- Computer/social media station
- Cooperative games
- Guest speaker