WASHINGTON, D.C. — Children are invited to make peace a priority this month, both at home and abroad. The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, chief executive of the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society, invites children to take the lead in pursuing the peace that will ensure they have any chance for an abundant future.
Children [invited] to take the lead in pursuing the peace that will ensure they have any chance for an abundant future.
Henry-Crowe has proposed a multi-faceted initiative, led by children, to engage all generations in the United Methodist Peace with Justice Sunday, which is May 31 this year, but can be observed at any time amenable to a congregation’s programming schedule.
The initiative, “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.
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.
Peace with Justice Sunday
Peace with Justice Sunday is one of the six United Methodist Special Sundays with offering. Peace with Justice Sunday supports programs that advocate peace and justice at home and around the world. Half of the Special Sunday offering is retained in annual conferences to fund local Peace with Justice ministries. Half of the offering is remitted to GBCS to help fund U.S. and global work in social action, public-policy education and advocacy.
God invites us into a way of blessedness for peace.
Henry-Crowe cited the Beatitudes as inspiration for the observance: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). “With the hope, inspiration, curiosity and playfulness of children, God invites us into a way of blessedness for peace,” she emphasized.
Children themselves inspired “Hate Hurts, Peace Heals,” according to Henry-Crowe. She mentioned her grandsons Lauch and Dash, and Maya and Ella, children of GBCS staff members, but also children she encountered this past year at the Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, Texas, boys and girls in Baltimore, in the Philippines and the Democratic Republic of Congress.
“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.”
You can use a downloadable invitation suitable for worship bulletins to help spread the word about this endeavor to instill a vision of peace among the youngest in our communities. 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 morecomprehensive reading list is available also with books broken down by subject and age appropriatness.
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.
The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City.