Praying for Peace on Anzac Day 2017

On Anzac Day 2017 a group of nearly 200 people gathered in the Auckland Domain to pray for peace. Church in Progress wants to acknowledge Auckland Peace Action for making this gathering possible.

Below is an outline of what was shared. We will endeavour to get notes from each speaker to add to this record.

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Acknowledgement of Tangata Whenua

It is right before we start our service to acknowledge mana whenua this rohe. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, 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.

The hill on which the Auckland War Memorial Museum stands is called Pukekawa. In the 1820s, at the height of the Musket Wars, Te Wherowhero and Ngati Whatua met there to make peace with the northern tribes. Ceremonies were held in the shadow of Pukekawa and its meaning was recast to mean ‘hill of bitter memories’ as a memorial to all who fell in the Musket Wars. So, it was a war memorial long before settlers thought it a good place to build a war memorial museum.

On behalf of Church in Progress MCC and Auckland Peace Action, we thank you for coming here today.

We gather to pray for peace. We gather as a sign, a commitment that we will work together to bring peace to our land and peace throughout the world.

We gather as up on the hill there is a military ceremony to remember those who have died in wars gone past.

We also gather here, not as a show of military potential, but as everyday people, from all walks of life and faith, to mourn those who have died in battle. But our list is longer than the one they will read on the hill.

Today, in addition, we pray for those nameless victims of war.

The civilians killed in the cross-fire of a war they didn’t ask for. Children, parents, grandparent.

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 too few.

As we sing this next song, from the Christian tradition, prayerfully think of all those victims of war that go unnamed.

Song: “Lay down my dear brother” performed by Jenny Lange and Peter Lange

Speaker: Dr Jenny Te Paa Daniel, formerly Chair of Global Anglican Peace and Justice Network, Trustee for National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, lay woman activist

Speaker: Wojtek Krzyzosiak – Auckland Peace Action

Prayer

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. We also recognised Arthur Palmer who is with us today who spent 3.5 years behind bars for refusing to fight. 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 pray for groups like Auckland Peace Action, who regular risk arrest and personal safety during non-violent action. Just last year they coordinated everyday people and succeeded in shutting down the weapons expo held right here in Auckland – The City of Peace.

We ask that that all of us here will have the courage, moral strength, wisdom and discernment as we attempt in our small and imperfect way to follow the path of peace.

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? Lead by Dr Grant Hewison

Speaker: Te Ao Pritchard & Sina Brown-Davis, Pacific Panther Network

Speaker: Imam Shafiq ur Rehman, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at New Zealand

Speaker: Keith Locke, Member of the Peace and Conflict Studies Centre Trust and former Green MP

SONG: Give Peace a Chance. Lead by Dr Grant Hewison

Speaker: Dr Huhana Hickey & Sophie Tauhara, Social Justice Activists and Community Leaders

Speaker: Judith Wishart, Auckland Religious Society of Friends – Quakers

Speaker: Rev George Armstrong, Veteran Anglican priest/activist

Speaker: Marama Davidson, Peace Activist and Green MP

Song: Performed Roger Fowler

Poem by Naomi Lange: Read by Adrienne Vickers, Church in Progress MCC

Song: Jenny & Peter Lange sing “Between the Wars” by Billy Bragg

Closing: We have remembered those who would otherwise be forgotten; those whom society reviles, persecutes and calls traitor. As people of many faiths, we pray for peace and justice. We ask that we gain the strength and support to make peace a reality.

We grieve all violence, 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:

We pray that we find new ways to love our neighbours and build communities of kindness and trust.

We ask that when we are overwhelmed by the consequences of war – help us to find another way forward.

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

Go in Peace.

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See more pics and tweets … https://storify.com/ChurchinProgres/prayers-for-peace-on-anzac-day

 

 

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