Friday, June 16, 2017

Annual MFSA Peace Walk & Prayer Service: Peace: Transforming the World through Social Justice

By Christine Sheller

Monday, June 12 was host to many from both the Iowa Methodist church conference, and others from outside the conference participating in the Annual MFSA Peace Walk and Prayer Service, sponsored by the Iowa Chapter of the MFSA and seven other Methodist committees/ organizations.  Iowa Peace Network participated in the conference, as the Methodist Church in Iowa is one of its supporting denominations; with a display table in the Exhibit Hall, and so was able to proceed to the beginning of the walk from the Events Center. 

Around noon, those gathered started south of Hy Vee Hall, and then proceeded to Cowles Commons, where the Peace Garden concept is very alive!

Many people held signs saying thing such as:  “The World Still Says No to War” and “Iowans for Peace,” among many others. 

Walkers were greeted by music at Cowles Commons, and sang a couple of gathering songs.  Attendees received a welcome from Josh Steward, pastor of Sheridan Park UMC in Des Moines.  Dona Nobis Pacem was sung, and then hearers heard from the bishop of the Iowa Area United Methodist Church, Laurie Haller.  She listed several issues that are important right now, including immigration.  Second, Laura Sweet, Vice President/ Chief Operating Officer of the Des Moines Performing Arts, gave a welcome as rally partipants  were on Civic Center property.  Next, Frank Cownie, Mayor of Des Moines spoke.  Last, Aaron Smith, Artistic Associate at Pyramid Theatre Company, presented “Excerpts from Martin Luther King Jr’s Riverside Church Speech.”  His remarks seemed poignant for today, and it was very moving.

 “Once to Ev’ry Soul & Nation,”was sung then those gathered participated in a Litany of Wisdom, gleaned from the peace sayings that are on the benches in Cowles Commons. 
The closing song was “We are Marching in the Light of God.”

Song leaders were:  Jose Clavell, and Rita Carter.  Keyboard player was Linda Clark. 

Thank you to Iowa MFSA for sponsoring and organizing this event!  It was a great event to be part of a witness for peace in downtown Des Moines.

Christine Sheller is coordinator and editor at Iowa Peace Network.  She is a graduate of Bethany Theological Seminary.

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