Peace in public is breaking out all over

August 17, 2010 | Feature | Number 15
By Rachel Bergen | National Correspondent

What started out as a small Saskatchewan church’s 2008 resolution to take acts of peace public has become a fairly widespread Canadian campaign with people all over the world getting on board.

It’s called, “Peace in the public square” and it’s breaking out all over: from billboards in Calgary on the Light Rail Transit vehicles to wearing the “Live for Peace” toques at major public events.

“Every province from Ontario to British Columbia has participated in acts of peace,” Mennonite Church Canada communications director Dan Dyck said on July 1 at the assembly in Calgary.

So far, there have been 21 significant acts of peace, with more to come. In Saskatchewan alone, there will be a transit advertisement campaign in Saskatoon by MC Saskatchewan, a “peace” road sign welcoming people to Emmaus Mennonite Church, and a print media project by Osler Mennonite Church, which put forward the resolution in the first place.

Kyleen Ellison, a young adult from Listowel, Ont., suggested that at future assemblies those in attendance should participate in an act of peace together.

The website tracks the origins of the people who visit it. According to Dyck, the top 10 countries that visit the website include Germany, Great Britain, South Africa, Ukraine, South Korea, Pakistan and Romania.

Hot off the presses for the assembly were business-card-sized “Live for Peace” slogans that MC Canada hoped participants would leave on restaurant tables, in bus stops and at various other locations around Calgary, so that those who picked them up might visit the website and learn how they, too, can “live for peace.”

Singer-songwriter Bryan Moyer Suderman wrote a song inspired by acts of peace he found on the website and performed it at the assembly:

‘Peace—in Public!’
(Words and music by Bryan Moyer Suderman, © 2010 SmallTall Music)

I don’t know if you’ve heard—if not,
it falls to me,
To warn you of the latest threat
to our security.
There’s a group of people, once
“the quiet in the land,”
Now they’re speaking out in public,
and getting out of hand.

Refrain (after each verse)

It’s peace—in public—and it’s breaking
out all over.
You’d better watch your back,
keep looking over your shoulder.
You never can be sure, these folks
are only getting bolder.
It’s peace—in public—and it’s breaking
out all over.

Riding on the C-train, you’d think
I’d be okay;
Minding my own business,
in nobody’s way.
I validate my ticket, and headed
for the back
And then I saw a little sign
that stopped me in my tracks.
It said “Imagine life without war.”

Driving down the No. 1 I know what
I will see:
Towns and fields and farmers
keep me company.
But one day in November I thought
I’d call the police;
A great big sign beside the road said,
“To remember is to work for peace.”

It’s not just a sign or two posted here or there.
It’s 1,000 Acts of Peace, in the public square.
These crazy people think their message has been heaven-sent.
They even want a Department of Peace in our government!

I don’t know how it looks to you,
but it seems to me,
What we’re dealing with, my friends,
is a conspiracy.
We’d better nip this in the bud,
starting here and now,
Or else these people might just turn
our whole world upside down!

Not too long ago some leaders
gathered round.
It took a billion dollars to keep them
safe and sound.
At the same time, in Winnipeg,
other leaders gathered, too.
And now there is a ninth
Millennial Goal for me and you
That goal is . . . .

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