Prayers of Peace

On the 20th of November Church in Progress worked with Auckland Peace Action facilitated the prayerful protest Prayers of Peace.

Below is an outline of the prayer service which was held across the road from Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland. To read more about our motivation to host this event please read the Auckland Peace Action press release here.

Below are Emily’s notes that she used on the day to be the spiritual MC.

______________

Thank you for peacefully gathering in this place.

Inside the Cathedral a 75 birthday service is being held to celebrate and commemorate the commitment, sacrifice and service of the men and women who serve with the Royal New Zealand Navy, they will give thanks for the past, present and future of the Navy. We stand here as a people who refuse to celebrate war and who wish to pray for all the victims of war, especially for those who will not be named inside today. We are people of peace; people who believe that love is of greater value than the sword, that justice shall prevail in the face of power and that in the end we shall all live in peace and equity.

1.30-2.00:      ‘Open Prayer Mic’

This is the time to share a prayer, poem or song. Get inspired by the Week of Prayer for World Peace multi-faith leaflet.

** Well known social justice and peace activist Rev George Armstrong lead us in prayer and shared his reasons for being at the prayer service. We sung quite a few songs and Alan read the poem A Moment of Silence by Emmanuel Ortiz. You can read/listen to this powerful poem here. **

2.00: Prayer Service Starts

Emily: Acknowledgement of Tangata Whenua

It is right before we start our service to acknowledge mana whenua of ngā tangata whenua of this rohe, to whom this land belongs and which was taken by the military arm of the British Empire. We repent of this crime, and we pray that justice shall be done with respect to this situation.

One of the most powerful events I attended during this Week of Peace was the Karanga Tangaroa down at Mission Bay on Thursday morning.

This was primarily an indigenous women’s response to the militarisation of the pacific and a protest to call out how wrong it is to take indigenous names and use them for militarism practices. We remember that it is often women that lead the call for peace.

Song lead by Jenny Lange: Bread and Roses

We meet here to remember those who would otherwise be forgotten; those whom society reviles, persecutes and calls traitor. As Christians, we do this to follow in the way of Christ, who found solidarity with the outcast, the poor and the oppressed.

As people of many faiths, we pray that God, however we name God, hears our call for peace and justice and strengthens us that we might make it a reality.

God brings light to the world and the darkness becomes warmed around us. Love lives beyond our violence and the power of death is dimmed. The Spirit treads in our footsteps and the face of a child invites us to trust.

All: As people choose violence, as we violate each other and the hope for the community of human life, the light of God is hidden.

We grieve all violence, O God, the violence in which we participate between the powerful and the defenceless, the rich and the poor, between men and women, adults and children.

We grieve the violence of religious hate, in parts of all religions and any religions and between people who hate others simply because they are different. We grieve the violence between people of political difference and those whose only interest is their own power. We grieve the violence in humankind which produces terrible weapons of destruction.

As we come before you, we are aware that we too participate in violence. When we have remained silent in the face of hate directed at someone else and left in despair those who suffer devastation, and when we have turned our eyes away from violence close at hand:

All: Forgive us, O God, for we long to love our neighbours as ourselves and build communities of kindness and trust.

The good news is that nothing can separate us from the love of God. In the face of all our realities, God is making all things new. Amen.

Poem read by Naomi Lange

Emily: Today we pray for those nameless victims of war. The refugees who are too many to name. People who have lost their language and culture due to years of colonisation which was sealed by force. We pray for those children whose parents work in the military who lose precious time with their parents. We pray for the healing of those military personnel who have suffered spiritual harm from following orders that their hearts could not reconcile. We pray for those who look to the armed forces for paid employment as their options are so few. We pause now to give those gathered here a chance to name other victims of war.

Please speak them out loud.

Compassionate God, we are overwhelmed by the consequences of war. Help us to find another way forward. Amen

SONG: Give Peace a Chance

Prayers led by Wojtek Krzyzosiak

Please join me in praying for those who have made personal sacrifices in the quest for peace.

Frederick Adin, Lewis Penwright, Albert Sanderson, Daniel Maguire, Thomas Harland, John Baxter, Garth Ballantyne, William Little, Alexander Baxter, Mark Briggs, Lawrence Kerwin  and Henry Patton. They, together with Archibald Baxter represent the fourteen conscientious objectors that the New Zealand Government sent to the western front in the First World War in an attempt to break them.

Pray for us.

Te Whiti-o-Rongomai, Tohu Kākahi, Tītokowaru and all the people of Parihaka who suffered imprisonment, displacement and the loss of their land at the hands of colonial forces,

Pray for us.

Daniel and Philip Berrigan, imprisoned by the US government for destroying draft records in an effort to stem the pointless bloodshed in Vietnam,

Pray for us.

We give thanks for the bravery of those who were jailed in Mt Eden prison for refusing to pay the fines imposed for participating in the anti-Vietnam War protests.

Pray for us.

Dorothy Day, repeatedly imprisoned by the US government while fighting for a more just society,

Pray for us.

Frank Hughes, John Sweeney, John Braithwaite, John King and Victor Spencer, executed by firing squad during the First World War for military offences,

Pray for us.

Archbishop Oscar Romero, shot while celebrating mass in revenge for his promotion of peace and justice and his condemnation of extrajudicial murders by the government of El Salvador,

Pray for us.

We pray for those who were put in jail as they refused to attend compulsory military service in the early 1970s. Some of whom are gathered here with us here today.

Pray for us.  

As we remember those who have suffered and died in the struggle for peace and justice we also remember all the others who in small and forgotten ways made a stand for peace and against violence. We pray for people who are currently putting themselves at risk in the quest for peace. We give thanks to those, who just this week, risked arrest and personal safety during non-violent action which shut down the weapons expo held right here in Auckland – The City of Peace.

We ask that their courage, their moral strength, their wisdom, their discernment and their faith in eventual victory stays with us as we attempt in our small and imperfect way to follow in their footsteps.

Let us be steadfast in our faith in the eventual victory of the just, courageous and merciful and to be wise in our planning and methods of opposition.

Amen.

SONG: Where have all the flowers gone?

Leader: Let us carry the light of God into the world, let us rebuild love and justice in the creative power of God.

May you go into your daily lives with peace on your mind. May you be non-violent in your actions and may you show love to all you meet.

And all the people say … Amen.

Service created by Rev Emily Worman and Wojtek Krzyzosiak. Parts adapted from Grieving Violence by Dorothy McRae-McMahon.

 

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