St. Stephen’s Celebrates Peace Week

St. Stephen’s Celebrates Peace Week

by Deacon Kate Sefton

To celebrate International Peace and Nonviolence Week, parishioners at St. Stephen’s, Sebastopol, lovingly crafted and decorated their own Peace Pole.

With offerings of prayer and music, more than 60 people, including congregation and community members, gathered on the evening of September 20 to plant the pole alongside the church.

Prayers and hopes for peace between people, communities and nations were read aloud.

One of the musical offerings was an original song, "Hate Won’t Win," written by Benjamin Mertz. A local composer and musician who formerly was music director at the church, Mertz was on hand with his choral group, "Joyful Noise," to lead the assembled group in song.

The ceremony closed with a prayer written by Henri Nouwen:

"O Lord, awaken the consciousness of all peoples and their leaders; raise up men and women full of love and generosity who can speak and act for peace, and show us new ways in which hatred can be left behind, wounds can be healed, and unity can be restored. Amen."

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