Peace brings local community together

Peace Prayer Walk invites Christians with differing perspectives on war and pacifism to find common ground

December 10, 2014 | God at work in the World | Number 24
By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Manitoba Correspondent
<p>Participants pause by the Morden, Man., cenotaph to offer prayers concerning civil justice during their Peace Prayer Walk on Nov. 9. Michael Pahl, who came up with the idea for the walk, is pictured facing the camera with white papers in his hand. (Photo courtesy of Michael Pahl)</p>

“Regardless of our perspectives on ‘just war’ and pacifism, as Christians we are all united in our desire for peace and justice in our community and around the world,” says Michael Pahl of his idea to hold an annual Peace Prayer Walk in Morden, Man., last year. “This prayer walk is an opportunity to put our feet and mouths where our hearts are, to reflect on the need for peace in the world and to pray for peace together.”

Pahl, having just begun his ministry at Morden Mennonite in 2013, proposed the idea of a peace walk to the local ministerial last year and was surprised and grateful that  the idea was well received. He also brought the proposal to the local Legion and found strong support for it there.

“As a matter of fact, the Legion invited the ministers to come to a dinner last year  at the Legion the night before the [inaugural] prayer walk,” said Pahl. “We all want peace. We have different ideas about how to achieve peace, but we all desire peace.”

This year, approximately 50 people from several Morden churches participated in the community’s second-annual Peace Prayer Walk on Nov. 9. They walked to several locations around the town. They paused to reflect and pray about issues of peace and justice; at the court house, the Bible readings and prayers focussed on civil justice. Each stop concluded with a song.

All participants were given the Mennonite Central Committee button stating, “To remember is to work for peace,”  and a handmade clay dove to carry with them throughout the walk as tangible symbols of peace.

The hour-long Peace Prayer Walk made its last stop at Morden Mennonite, where participants gathered for hot chocolate and fellowship.

Holding the Peace Prayer Walk on the Sunday before Remembrance Day “allows us to draw on this [peace] tradition and also to respect the community services on Remembrance Day itself,” said Pahl. “We want this to be something that brings us together for peace, not something that divides us.” 

—Posted Dec 10, 2014

Participants pause by the Morden, Man., cenotaph to offer prayers concerning civil justice during their Peace Prayer Walk on Nov. 9. Michael Pahl, who came up with the idea for the walk, is pictured facing the camera with white papers in his hand. (Photo courtesy of Michael Pahl)

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