Peace & Global Witness

Path of Peace Reflections get creative twist

September 1, 2021 by Darla Carter

The Season of Peace returns Sept. 5-Oct. 3 with an artistic twist, showcasing the talents and motivational words of David LaMotte, Michele Slone, David Barnhart and others.

The season is a four-week pilgrimage designed to help individuals, families, congregations and small groups deepen their pursuit of peace. It culminates with the Peace and Global Witness Offering, which according to Special Offerings “enables the church to promote the Peace of Christ by addressing systems of conflict and injustice across the world.”

In the past, written reflections known as Path of Peace Reflections have been emailed to subscribers throughout the season. This year, the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program has added videos focused on various aspects of peacemaking through the arts. (Watch a highlight reel here.)

“We want people to realize that peacemaking is expressed in a lot of ways,” said the Rev. Carl Horton, Peacemaking Coordinator. “People who happen to be given gifts of the arts, who are people of faith, who are peacemakers, their work is infused with their commitments to peacemaking.”

Sue Rheem, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Representative to the United Nations, also contributed to the series.

Twelve contributors are featured in the videos, which explores peacemaking through these themes: spoken and written word; song, music and dance; visual arts; and actions, advocacy and service, said project manager Simon Doong.

Each contributor has “a 5- to 8-minute video reflection that drops Monday, Wednesday, Friday and then on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday (there) is a shorter written piece that includes quotes from our contributor and then some questions for people to reflect on and a call to action,” said Doong, Associate for the Peacemaking Program.

Filmmaker David Barnhart of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s Story Ministries contributed to the Path of Peace Reflections series. (Photo by Rich Copley)

Among the contributors are musician and speaker LaMotte; music educator Slone; filmmaker David Barnhart of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s Story Ministry; the Rev. Dr. Alonzo Johnson, coordinator of the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People; and Sue Rheem, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Representative to the United Nations.

Horton said, “I think people will be enriched and also their understanding of how peacemaking finds expression will be deepened.”

Rheem discusses pieces of art at the UN that “inspire us to go on” because they show “there is a beauty in humanity.”

Slone, a member of First Presbyterian Church in Urbana, Ohio, brings insight for using music as a peacemaking tool in camp and conference ministry and as a public-school music educator. She performs the song “Under God’s Roof.”

“The song was inspired by the theme of a church camp at Kirkmont Center one year, ‘Under God’s Roof,’” she noted in an email. “Then later, when looking at the (Peace & Global Witness Offering), I was inspired with another verse, so that the song could be used in conjunction with that offering. I hope when folks hear it and/or use it, that it is a reminder that we … are family under one God and under God’s roof, and that we are called to love and care for everyone and everything in that family under God’s roof.”

David LaMotte is a celebrated Presbyterian musician, activist and writer. (Photo by Rich Copley)

Doong said he enjoyed interviewing the contributors for the video reflections project, which was partly inspired by a group of activists on Jeju Island in South Korea who infuse their protests against the presence of a military base there with artistic expression, including singing and dancing.

“I was very grateful we were able to have some of those peace activists from Jeju Island be a part of these reflections,” he said.

Horton said the new approach to the Path of Peace will help to make peacemaking “real” for people.

“It makes it more than just policies and the engagement of nations,” he said. “It brings it down to ways in which people, in their daily lives, express their peacemaking witness.”

Go here to sign-up to receive the Path of Peace Reflections. Go here to find out more about the Season of Peace and various ways to be a part of it.

Peacemaking is one of the Compassion, Peace and Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Give to the Peace & Global Witness Offering to continue the valuable ministry work of the Peacemaking Program.

This was published for Presbyterian News Service on August 31, 2021.

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The Peace & Global Witness Offering draws Presbyterians together and provides exposure to active peacemakers as well as education and resources to empower congregations and individuals to become peacemakers, themselves.  These collective efforts support resources in dealing with conflict, provide nurturing reconciliation, and stand in support of our global siblings, because the peace of Christ belongs to people everywhere.