Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church (NWYM) is a covenantal community
of evangelical Friends churches that make Jesus Christ known by:

Teaching and obeying the whole gospel as revealed by the
Holy Spirit and recorded in Scripture

Loving and mutually supporting each other

Equipping and releasing people to continue His mission in the world

Peace Month 2010

Welcome to the Peace Month 2010 webpage!  Here you will find detailed information about the purpose, goals and theme of Peace Month, as well as links to resources you might find helpful as you plan.

What: First Annual NWYM Peace Month
When: January 2010
Theme: What is Peace?

 

Resources:

If it’s helpful, use these weekly temes to form sermons, discussions, guest lectures, Sunday school classes and events.

  • January 3:  The Greatest Commandment – Love God, and neighbors as yourself
  • January 10:  Peace with God & yourself
  • January 17:  Peace with friends & family
  • January 24:  Peace with community
  • January 31:  Peace in our nation & world
Purpose:

We recognize that the communities in NWYM represent a variety of beliefs, practices and education levels regarding the Friends peace testimony.  We hope Peace Month will provide each congregation space to begin or continue discussions regarding peace and social justice issues in ways that are helpful to them.  Our main goal is to create a safe setting where people in your meeting can openly discuss this issue, no matter where their opinions fall along the belief spectrum.

Each meeting is encouraged to host one event each week during January related to the peace testimony.  This can be in the form of an emphasis on peace in a regularly scheduled gathering (e.g., Sunday morning worship), or a special event such as showing and discussing a movie or inviting a guest speaker.  Your whole congregation could be involved in these, or you could do something for each age level on different weeks.

By the end of Peace Month, it is our hope that individuals:

  • will be better educated about the Friends peace testimony,
  • will sense deeper bonds with others in their meeting through opportunities to discuss peace and justice issues more openly,
  • and feel challenged and equipped to follow Christ’s call to peacemaking more faithfully.

By creating a Peace Month, we hope that Friends will feel encouraged to know that others across the Yearly Meeting are also discussing and wrestling with these issues at the same time.

We don’t want to create more work for those in leadership at your meeting, so we hope the resources we provide will give you a variety of options that will fit your congregation’s needs while helping you incorporate education about the peace testimony into your annual curriculum.

What Might “Peace Month” Look Like at My Church?

We suggest you do one thing each week during January 2010 to emphasize Christ’s call to peacemaking.  You are of course free to do more, but here is an outline of what a simple and fun-filled Peace Month might look like in your local congregation.  These are just suggestions to help you begin brainstorming.  We encourage you to offer events and discussions for people of all ages.

Sunday, December 27: hand out the Peace Month Daily Devotional booklets, or send the PDF out over email that week.

  • Invite people to use this booklet daily, starting January 1, in order to think and pray about peace in various forms, and to hear the voices of those around Northwest Yearly Meeting.

Sunday, January 3: sermon on the Greatest Commandments: loving God, and loving our neighbors as ourselves

  • This is the foundation for the Friends’ peace testimony: we are asked to show love to God through loving our neighbors as ourselves.  And who are our neighbors?  Remember the Good Samaritan: all people are our “neighbors,” even (and perhaps especially) our enemies.
  • Define “peace” broadly.  Most people in the world desire peace, and this is a starting point for dialogue and discussion within our meetings for worship and with those outside our faith community.
  • If your congregation is comfortable with this, ask for people to shout out their own one-sentence definitions of “peace” as part of this sermon, or meditate on the query “What is peace?” during open worship.

Week of January 4-10: Youth group or youth Sunday school focused on peace and social justice.  You could:

  • Use one of the activities geared specifically toward youth which we have suggested.
  • Invite a guest speaker from the available list.  Contact us (peaceeducation@nwfriends.org) if you want suggestions for individuals who would speak best to youth on topics of interest to you and your youth.  Possible topics:
  • Biblical basis for peacemaking
  • Practical peacemaking
  • History of the Friends peace testimony
  • Conscientious objection
  • Conflict resolution & mediation
  • Show a movie and discuss it.
  • Initiate a discussion around the query “What is peace?” and allow youth to spend time thinking and praying about how to live out peace in their own lives.

Week of January 11-17: Invite a guest to share or facilitate a discussion with a Sunday school class or as a special event

  • If your congregation needs basic historical and biblical background on the basis of the Friends peace testimony, invite a speaker with this emphasis.
  • If your congregation struggles to share openly about their beliefs around peace and war, invite someone to help facilitate a safe space for discussion.
  • For practical training on how to live more peacefully, invite someone to help your congregation learn how to use conflict resolution and mediation techniques in family and work settings.

Week of January 18-24: Devote a children’s Sunday school or Wednesday night gathering to the theme of peacemaking as a lifestyle.

  • See the children’s activities we have suggested.
  • Conflict resolution and mediation techniques are best learned at a young age in order to create healthy patterns of relating to others.  If you need help finding a resource to teach these, look at the curriculum and speaker suggestions we have given, or contact us for specific suggestions for your needs.

Week of January 25-31: Wrap up Peace Month by discussing how our actions affect others around the world, encouraging one another to love as God loves us.  You could:

  • Invite a guest speaker who is from or has spent time in a war-torn country to share about his/her experience and how we can help.  If it is not possible to find a person who has been to your area of interest, contact us (peaceeducation@nwfriends.org) for movie suggestions and thoughts about how our actions can affect change.
  • Take time in Sunday morning worship for a “Peace Prayer,” where someone shares about an area of the world that particularly needs peace, and pray for that situation and the people there.
  • Choose a situation or public policy that your congregation feels strongly about, and write letters to congress, the president and/or media outlets (newspaper editors, etc.) to ask for a more just way of dealing with humanitarian issues in that setting.
  • Remind the congregation about the first week’s sermon on loving God by loving our neighbors as ourselves.  Discuss how individuals have felt challenged over the course of the month to love others in deeper and more powerful ways.
  • Pray for unity in Northwest Yearly Meeting on this issue and others.  Pray that we may more closely follow the way of Christ together, and grow together in bonds of love.  Pray that in our actions and missions around the world, we may be people who encourage love and reconciliation among all people.
Resources:

Questions or Suggestions?

Contact the Peace Education Subcommittee: peaceeducation@nwfriends.org