For 20 years, the Des Moines Faith Committee for Peace has worked toward its mission to help lead the ecumenical and interfaith communities in raising prayers and voices to end the war and will continue its mission by sponsoring and planning this year’s International Day of Peace celebration on September 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Cowles Commons.
“End Racism—Bring Peace” is this year’s theme for the United Nations International Day of Peace. Dr. Kesho Scott will be the keynote speaker, and musical selections will be by the Heartland Youth Choir’s Chamber Choir.
Dr. Kesho Scott is an internationally renowned Diversity Trainer/Consultant, an Associate Professor of American Studies and Sociology at Grinnell College, and an award-winning writer.
“Dr. Kesho Scott is a very fine speaker who I heard speak about African American history a few months ago, but you can’t delve into that without speaking to racism,” said Rev. Dr. Jaqueline Thompson, Committee member, and pastor at Des Moines St. John’s and Burns United Methodist Churches. “She is very knowledgeable about things that have gone on in Iowa and Des Moines, and she has a way of speaking so no one feels shamed or guilty. She does a really good job of speaking the truth.”
The Des Moines Faith Committee for Peace has seven different denominations represented on the planning team and invites others to join the group.
“In 2002, an ad hoc group of peace and justice folks from various churches got together to think of some way to stop our nation from going to war in Iraq. We decided to hold a worship service, urging and praying not to attack Iraq,” said Eloise Cranke, a founding member of the Committee. “The first service was in November 2002, and Bishop Palmer was our keynote speaker. St. John’s Lutheran Church hosted the event, and bishops and pastors from several different denominations participated.”
Since then, Des Moines Faith Committee for Peace continues to hold services to speak out against war, believing that, as the Quakers say, “War Is Not the Answer.”
There have been various changes and events over the years. Currently, the Committee holds three events each year: a Palm Sunday Procession and Service for Peace (Bishop Laurie has participated in that in previous years); a service on the International Day of Peace, as designated by the United Nations, and a service on the Feast of the Holy Innocents, calling special attention to the impact of war on children.
“Peace, peacemaking, and working toward peace has been a part of my life for almost as long as I can remember, at least as long as I’ve been an adult in many ways,” said Cranke. “And also, racism has been a focus for me, so it’s just natural that we would want to do this sort of thing and try to spread the word and have more people involved.”
The Committee invites churches/committees and organizations to co-sponsor these events. They suggest a donation of 25 to 50 dollars, but it’s not required.
At each event, there is an offering. The offerings on Palm Sunday and International Day of Peace go towards expenses. The offering for the Holy Innocents service goes to non-profits that specifically help children.
If you are interested in participating in the Des Moines Faith Committee for Peace, please email Eloise Cranke at [email protected]
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