On December 22, 2013, more than 40 members of Joshua House, the “twenty-something community” of Vineyard Columbus church, hosted new friends from the Committee for Justice in Palestine at Ohio State University (CJP) at a candlight vigil supporting Peace in the Holy Land. Janara Walker, Vineyard’s International Ministry coordinator, organized the event to answer the request from the Holy Land Trust of Bethlehem, Palestine, for a global Moment of Peace in the Holy Land.
CJP, forwarding Joshua House’s invitation, asked all to “light a candle and say a prayer in solidarity with the People of Bethlehem and the Holy Land.”
The call from the Holy Land Trust was eloquent:
“Dear Friends of the World,
This December 23rd, activists for Peace across the globe will light a candle, say a prayer, or send healing energy in solidarity with the People of Bethlehem and the Holy Land. This Christmas season help us change the conversation to one of Hope.
From Bethlehem Nativity Square in Palestine, we will hold a prayer vigil at 6 pm, 4 pm IST for Peace in the Holy Land and for our brothers and sisters suffering from conflict, particularly in Syria. Let us together celebrate in unison with the City of Peace recognizing the local and global voices advocating for change.
Whether you believe in the Sacredness of Bethlehem or in the justice of the Palestinian nonviolent liberation movement; whether you believe in a plausible peace between all faiths in the Holy Land or whether you believe that civil society and international solidarity can affect change not only in Palestine but in the rest of the world, JOIN US. We can be the change that we see in the world.
We invite you to post your messages of Peace and pictures in solidarity with the global call for Peace this Christmas, while keeping in your hearts Nelson Mandela’s spirit for solidarity action and the power of nonviolence.”
Three days ago, the Holy Land Trust celebrated the response from people worldwide:
“We want to thank you all for your support in our Moment of Peace event, we couldn’t be more delighted with the solidarity we have received! You still have this afternoon to get your images in, and they’re still coming, take a look!
We plan for 2014 to be even bigger, the peace will spread, watch this space!”
P.S. I gratefully remember Vineyard Columbus from years of sports tournaments on its fields. Between matches–often in challenging weather–the church’s clergy, staff, and members welcomed players, officials, and onlookers to the comfort of its Community Center–a kindness valued by all.