WASHINGTON, D.C. — The General Board of Church & Society is inviting children to make peace a priority this month, both at home and abroad. New resources have been prepared to help children read about peace, study it in Sunday school classes, and write prayers for peace.
In addition, the Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, chief executive of the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society, has written a reflection about how her grandson inspired her to create the initiative “Hate Hurts, Peace Heals.” Her reflection can be read at “Out of the mouths of babes.”
The initiative is intended to be part of the annual observance of Peace with Justice Sunday, a United Methodist Special Sunday to be observed May 31 this year. Congregations can hold the observance at any time more amenable to their own programs, however.
The new resources for “Hate Hurts, Peace Heals” include a lesson plan, a template to help children write prayers, and a reading list of age-appropriate books. All are available at “Hate Hurts, Peace Heals” on the GBCS website.
Children are encouraged to submit their prayers for peace to the General Board of Church & Society, 100 Maryland Ave., NE, Washington, D.C. 20002, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peace with Justice Sunday
Peace with Justice Sunday is one of the six United Methodist Special Sundays with offering. Peace with Justice Sunday supports programs that advocate peace and justice at home and around the world.
Half of the Special Sunday offering is retained in annual conferences to fund local Peace with Justice ministries. Half of the offering is remitted to GBCS to help fund U.S. and global work in social action, public-policy education and advocacy.
Henry-Crowe cited the Beatitudes as inspiration for the observance: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). “With the hope, inspiration, curiosity and playfulness of children, God invites us into a way of blessedness for peace,” she emphasized.
Children themselves inspired “Hate Hurts, Peace Heals,” according to Henry-Crowe. She mentioned her grandsons Lauch and Dash, and Maya and Ella, children of GBCS staff members, but also children she encountered this past year at the Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, Texas, boys and girls in Baltimore, in the Philippines and the Democratic Republic of Congress.
“Every child deserves to live in communities of peace,” Henry-Crowe said. “This month, we invite families, friends and congregations to read, pray and give towards peace for our communities and around the world.”
You can find a downloadable invitation suitable for worship bulletins to help spread the word about this endeavor to instill a vision of peace among the youngest in our communities. The invitation describing the aspects of “Hate Hurts, Peace Heals” can be shared in local congregations, Wesley Foundations and United Methodist Women’s circles, for example.
Other downloadable resources are available at “Hate Hurts, Peace Heals.”
More information can be obtained at “Hate Hurts, Peace Heals.”
Other resources are available such as a Peace with Justice e-book that describes 15 ways to observe the Special Sunday, along with basic information about the Special Sunday itself. The e-book suggests encourage people of all ages to give: invite children and teens to contribute one week’s allowance toward the Peace with Justice offering. Those small donations add up to big dollars quickly, according to the e-book.
The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City.