Members of the Wilton Presbyterian Church gathered Monday evening, Sept. 21, to commemorate the International Day of Peace.
A United Nations observance, the theme this year was Partnerships for Peace — Dignity for All. It has been held each year since 1981 to coincide with the opening of the U.N. General Assembly’s session. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Monday, “On the International Day, as we mark the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, let us seize the opportunity achieve the Organization’s founding purpose: to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.”
At the Presbyterian church on New Canaan Road, half a dozen church members joined Pastor Shannon White in reciting prayers for peace from the Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Native American, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, Bahai, Shinto, Native African, and Zoroastrian faiths.
A Muslim-Jewish-Christian prayer for peace said in part, “Give to us understanding that puts an end to strife, mercy that quenches hatred, and forgiveness that overcomes vengeance. Empower all people to live in your law of love.”
From the Bahai prayer for peace: “Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be fair in your judgment, and guarded in your speech. Be a lamp to those who walk in darkness, and a home to the stranger. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light to the feet of the erring. Be a breath of life to the body of humankind, a dew to the soil of the human heart, and a fruit on the tree of humility.”
Following the prayers, the group prayed for the people of all the world, reciting the names of each country on the planet. A final prayer, taken from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, was a prayer for the Syrian refugees seeking asylum around the world.
The group then moved on to the labyrinth, lit with candles, and each walked along the maze silently in prayer. The labyrinth at the church was built in 2014 as an Eagle Scout project by Victor Bernabei of Troop 20.
A labyrinth is a path that leads to the center of an intricate pattern and out again. Often seen as a metaphor for a person’s spiritual journey — sometimes one walks alone, sometimes one meets others along the twists and turns — labyrinths may deepen one’s personal prayers and meditation.