Hundreds of churches and Christian organizations around the world will pray for peace this Sunday on International Day of Prayer for Peace.
In the United States alone, nearly 140 congregations and Christian groups are organizing public prayer events on Sept. 21.
The day will also feature a coordinated event involving different countries around the world for a 24-hour prayer chain. In total, nine countries – America Samoa, Canada, Fiji, Indonesia, New Zealand, Norway, Samoa, Tuvalu and the United States – will be linked in the day-long prayer event.
"Our hope is that participating congregations intentionally build new or deeper ecumenical and interfaith relationships at the local level, so they are in a strengthened position for addressing violence in their communities on a more ongoing basis," said Matt Guynn of On Earth Peace, the group organizing this year's day of prayer.
The idea for the International Day of Prayer for Peace was first proposed in 2004 during a meeting between WCC general secretary the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia and then U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.
They agreed that a global day of prayer for peace would take place each year on the Sunday closest to Sept. 21 – the U.N. International Day of Peace. The day of prayer for peace, launched by WCC in 2004, is one of the initiatives of the WCC's Decade to Overcome Violence.
The World Council of Churches is an ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948 that today brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 100 countries.