Service offers hope for peace

September 22, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Five letters, one syllable and the ability to unite people around the corner and around the world.

Peace was the subject of a 25-minute service outside of Otterbein United Methodist Church in Martinsburg on Wednesday evening, when about 30 people observed International Day of Peace.

International Day of Peace was established by the United Nations in 1981, and scheduled in 2001 to always be held on Sept. 21 as a way to promote peace around the world.

During the service, Bible verses were read in Korean and Spanish, in keeping with the international theme.

Before the service began, Pastor Ken Fizer said that recognizing International Day of Peace was proposed to him by members of the Church and Society Committee.


"Peace is worth pursuing," Fizer said. "Peace has always been difficult for humanity to achieve as a goal. (We should not) give up hope. (We should) keep doing things that lead to peace."

The event was not meant to necessarily reflect current events, like the war in Iraq, he said.

"This isn't a political statement or a Republican or Democrat stance or even a stance on the war. It's just a stance in the name of peace," Fizer said before the service.

One of those in the congregation who helped organize the service was Joan Roach.

"I got hope out of there," Roach said after the service. "Hope. I feel there is a hope for peace."

Respecting each other and loving God can bring about peace, said Roach, who said peace to her would be to sit at a meal with rich and poor, black and white, and enjoy the time together.

Marcia Stickley also helped organize the event.

"Peace is everyone loving each other throughout the world. Trying to love each other," she said.

Children were asked to draw a picture and write down what peace means to them. Their artwork was on display during the service.

"Peace is a rainbow," wrote at least two children who did not sign their names.

"Peace is reading a book in bed," one wrote, while another said, "Peace is sleeping in the rain."

"Peace is to love others. Peace is to like how you are and enjoy life. And to love it," wrote Alison Miller.

"Peace is sleeping with Cloe and Dusty," a child wrote, drawing her dog and cat in bed.

Kim Martin, director of the church's children's ministries, said her idea of peace would agree with those of children whose idea of peace is reading and quiet time.

As a mother of three, Martin said she sometimes needs to follow Jesus' example and have a time of solitude.

"A time to be alone with God," she said.

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