Thursday, June 27, 2019

“Making Peace: In Our Church, In Our World, In Ourselves” Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church Walk and Prayer Service for Peace and Social Justice held Mon., June 10, 2019

By Christine Sheller

This year, members from the community and attendees of the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC) joined together in a walk for peace, planned by the MFSA (Methodist Federation for Social Action) along with several other agencies of the UMC.
  Approximately 50 walked.  The walk started at Hy Vee Hall (or Iowa Events Center) in near downtown Des Moines and proceeded to the Peace Garden at Cowles Commons in downtown.
There were many carrying signs, saying such things as “Pray for Peace,” and “Prayer is not the Answer.”  Among others outside of the UMC, Vets for Peace were present.  The walk was anchored by a duo carrying an “Iowans for Peace” sign.

Walkers at end of procession (Sheller/IPN)

The Prayer Service consisted of music, short talks, and responsive readings.  After everyone had arrived at the Peace Garden, the crowd was welcomed by Lewis Cox, of the Simpson College Religious Life Community.  Attendees sang “We Shall Overcome”.  Mayor Frank Cownie gave a welcome to the city.

Speakers spoke on the three tenets of the theme- “Making Peace…”  “In our church,” “In our world,” and “In ourselves.”  UMC Bishop Laurie Haller spoke on the first: (“in our church”), Rev. Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz pastor at the Trinity Las Americas UMC in Des Moines spoke on “In our world”, and Rev. Dr. Tyler Schwaller read a piece that Rev. Anna Blaedel had prepared for “peace in ourselves”.

Bishop Laurie Haller speaking. (Sheller/IPN)

Attendees were led in a litany, sang “Let there be peace on earth,” and the service concluded with lay leader Margaret Borgen speaking a “sending out”.  Song leaders were Jean Swenson and Kathi Mitchell.  On the keyboard was Linda Clark.

Cosponsors supporting MFSA included Conference Board of Church and Society, Conference Board of Laity, Conference Board of Global Ministries, Commission on the Status and Role of Women, Commission on Religion and Race, Iowa United Methodist Women, Conference Legislative Advocacy Team, Do No Harm, Wesley Center at the University of Iowa, Threehouse: a Wesley Foundation at UNI, Simpson College Religious Life Community, and Wesley Center at ISU.

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