September 2018 WATERritual

International Day of Peace: The World Needs Peacemakers

By Diann L. Neu and the WATER Staff

Welcome to tonight’s celebration of “International Day of Peace: The World Needs Peacemakers.” Tonight we remember and reflect upon the courage and wisdom of women past, present, and future who advocate for peace in the face of war, violence, and injustice. We look to their actions, words, and symbols to inspire us to live more peaceful and just lives. They challenge us to take action for peace in our families, communities, neighborhoods, and world.


Place on an altar table covered with a cloth: peace cranes, greenery (olive branches!), 10 candles and matches, a globe, olives, harvest bread, apples, honey, and drinks. Place pictures of the peacemakers named here around the space.

Naming the Circle

To create our circle, please speak your name and say, “I strive to be a peacemaker.”

Song: “Paz, Queremos Paz,” Traditional, source unknown

Paz, queremos paz, y libertad en este mundo. (2x)

Call to Gather

Every year on September 21 people around the world come together to advocate for peace in its many forms. In 1981, the United Nations passed a unanimous resolution calling for the celebration of an International Day of Peace (Peace Day) devoted to “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.”

The theme for 2018 celebrates “The Right to Peace – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70.”

We come together tonight to honor women of peace, many of whom have given their lives to uphold the safety and dignity each person deserves. So often, our history books exclude the stories of women peacemakers.

Tonight we will hear from women who advocate for peace both on global and local levels — women who speak out against suffering and hold communities together in the face of violence. Let us learn by their examples so that we too may be peacemakers and bring peace to our world and universe.

We gather in the spirit of those who have died—may they rest in peace. We gather in the spirit of those who are making decisions, hopeful that our prayers will warm their hearts and open their minds to a moral creativity that will bring peace without bombing and killing. We gather in the spirit of the Divine who calls us to live in peace from generation to generation. We gather to call forth peacemakers. Light a candle.

We gather because we must. We can’t keep from singing for peace. We can’t keep from praying for an end to violence and the beginning of a new day for our children’s children and for us. We gather linked in a special way to the people in Syria, praying for their safety, and hoping with them that this war will end. We gather mourning all who are killed in mass shootings, especially school children. We gather knowing that our democracy is in danger. We gather to call forth peacemakers. Light a candle.

Song: Paz, queremos paz, y libertad en este mundo. (2x)

Women Call for Peace

Let us listen to the wisdom of women peacemakers worldwide.
Light a candle after each quote.

Sadako Sasaki of Japan, child lost to atomic war

“I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world.” From the Report from Hiroshima (1961), p. 48 Light a candle.

Dorothy Day of the United States, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement

“As we come to know the seriousness of the situation, the war, the racism, the poverty in our world, we come to realize that things will not be changed simply by words or demonstrations. Rather, it’s a question of living one’s life in a drastically different way.” From Intercultural Competency, Those Whom We Cannot Unsee” Light a candle.

Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, Nobel Peace Prize 2014

“Peace in every home, every street, every village, every country – this is my dream. Education for every boy and every girl in the world. To sit down on a chair and read my books with all my friends at school is my right. To see each and every human being with a smile of happiness is my wish.” From I Am Malala, p. 313 Light a candle.

Anne Frank of Germany and the Netherlands, Holocaust victim

“I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.” From The Diary of Anne Frank (July 15, 1944) Light a candle.

Bree Newsome of the United States, artist and human rights activist

“You come against me with hatred, repression, and violence. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today.” From the Huffington Post,Activist Bree Newsome Reveals Staggering Faith During Confederate Flag Action” Light a candle.

Wangari Maathai of Kenya, Nobel Peace Prize 2004

“Unless we properly manage resources like forests, water, land, minerals and oil, we will not win the fight against poverty. And there will not be peace. Old conflicts will rage on and new resource wars will erupt unless we change the path we are on.” From the New York Times, “Trees for Democracy” Light a candle.

Berta Cáceres of Honduras, environmental and human rights activist

“I cannot freely walk on my territory or swim in the sacred river and I am separated from my children because of the threats. I cannot live in peace, I am always thinking about being killed or kidnapped. But I refuse to go into exile. I am a human rights fighter and I will not give up this fight.” From the Guardian,Remembering Berta Cáceres” Light a candle.

Mary McLeod Bethune of the United States, educator and Civil Rights activist

“The drums of Africa still beat in my heart. They will not let me rest while there is a single Negro boy or girl without a chance to prove his or her worth.” Found here Light a candle.

Rozina of Iraq, refugee who survived ISIS

“I would like to be an activist and talk about women’s rights. I have finished sixth grade and would like to finish my studies but I can’t continue in the camp. The camp is my home and my lifeline for now.” From interview by the Global Fund for Women, here Light a candle.

Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, peace activist, Nobel Peace Prize 2011

“Don’t wait for a Gandhi, don’t wait for a King, don’t wait for a Mandela. You are your own Mandela, your are your own Gandhi, you are your own king.” From Tsehai Publishers. Light a candle.

Chant: “Dona Nobis Pacem,” 16th Century, Anonymous.

Dona nobis pacem pacem,

Dona nobis pacem.

Give to us peace…

Reflection on Women Peacemakers

Which women peacemakers spoke to your mind and heart as you listened? (Pause) This globe represents these women and women peacemakers around the world. We will pass the globe around and when you receive it, name a woman peacemaker and tell us how she has touched you. (Naming)

Chant: “Dona Nobis Pacem”

Blessing of Solidarity with Peacemakers
As the world needs Earth, air, water and sun, so the world needs Women Peacemakers. In solidarity with women around the world, let us bless four foods to symbolize our unity.

Hold up bread: We unite with you, Women Peacemakers of the South, and share bread to nourish our struggles.

Hold up olives: We unite with you, Women Peacemakers of the East, and share olives to anoint ourselves and others with peace.

Hold up apples: We unite with you, Women Peacemakers of the North, and share apples to symbolize our shared harvest.

Hold up drink: We unite with you, Women Peacemakers of the West, and share drink to renew our strength when we are tired.

Let us eat and drink together in peace.

Sending Forth

As we go forth, let us promise to speak out against injustice and witness for peace.

Speak out against hatred towards refugees and immigrants,

Response: Witness for Peace!

Speak out against war everywhere, especially in (name a current conflict),

Response: Witness for Peace!

Speak out against ethnic cleansing,

Response: Witness for Peace!

Speak out against America’s hostility towards immigrants,

Response: Witness for Peace!

Speak out against human causes of climate change and stand in solidarity with all those affected by recent hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters,

Response: Witness for Peace!

Speak out against human trafficking,

Response: Witness for Peace!

Speak out against child marriage and sexual assault,

Response: Witness for Peace!

Speak out against white supremacy and racism in all its forms,

Response: Witness for Peace!

Greeting of Peace

Let us empower each other to witness for peace by greeting one another with the words of Sadako Sasaki:

“I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world.”

Song:I’ve Got Peace Like a River,” African-American spiritual

I’ve got peace like a river, (3x) in my soul.

Take Action

Make a peace crane.

Call your Congressperson and tell her or him to support migrants and refugees.

Learn more about the history of International Day of Peace.

Make a donation to support victims of natural disasters.

© 2018 Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER). Planned by Diann L. Neu, with Melissa Cedillo, Emily Neufeld