Archived Story

Trinity hosts Peace Day Sept. 21

Published 5:04pm Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Pax Christi (Peace of Christ), an international organization dedicated to peace and justice, celebrates the International Day of Peace at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 1819 Oak St., Niles.

Pax Christi of Southwestern Michigan was established in 2006 and meets monthly.

“It’s an ecumenical group in Niles and Buchanan which started as a Catholic movement,” retired Berrien County judge Casper Grathwohl said. “We always sponsored a peace vigil on 9-11. We’ve had 200 people there for concerts. We decided to concentrate on the International Day of Peace” for a wider audience.

Holy Trinity hosted a program in 2010, but the event did not take place in 2011.

Besides the program Sept. 21, Grathwohl has been in contact with Niles Supt. Richard Weigel, who encouraged administrators to promote student participation.

At the Bluegrass Festival, Pax Christi gave out cards and asked people to imagine what a day of peace might look like.

“Peace for a musician is harmony,” wrote one. Others sketched peace signs, listed Niles Community Gardens, stated more love and less war or drew scenes like Hands Across America in a broad range of interpretations.

One creatively colored in a peace sign with toppings — pepperoni peace-a!

“St. Mary’s grade school students are going to be doing that this year,” he said. “I also had a nice talk with John Jarpe at Brandywine, and he’s going to try to promote it, too.”

“Peace begins in our hearts and in our families and communities,” Grathwohl said. “Peace starts with each one of us in our daily communications and actions with each other.”

Peace Day provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date, such as festivals, concerts and a global Peace Wave with moments of silence at noon in every time zone.

The United Nations established Peace Day in 1981 “to encourage worldwide, 24-hour spiritual observations for peace and non-violence,” Sept. 21 being the opening of the UN General Assembly.

Since Peace Day was first celebrated in 1982, this is its 30th anniversary.

With “Sustainable peace for a sustainable future” as a theme, the UN ties in development because root causes of many conflicts are directly fueled by natural resources such as diamonds, gold, oil, timber and water.

Addressing ownership, control and management of natural resources is crucial to insuring they are managed in a sustainable manner and reducing potential for disputes.

Anyone anywhere can celebrate. It can be as simple as lighting a candle at noon or sitting in silent meditation. Or, it can involve co-workers, an organization, community or government in a large event.

Peace Day is also a day of personal cease-fire, an opportunity to soothe your own relationships.

Peace needs all the help it can get, judging from Wednesday’s headlines.
There’s the crisis in U.S.-Israeli relations after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Washington has no moral right to keep Israel from striking Iran in an election-season rebuke to President Barack Obama.

Or the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Californian J. Christopher Stevens, 52, and three embassy staff killed in an attack on the Benghazi consulate.

Islamist gunmen blame America for a film they say insults the Prophet Mohammad, making Stevens the first U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979.









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