Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders are inviting members to
take a moment to offer a silent prayer for world peace at noon Sunday as part of
a United Nations’ effort to highlight the right of all people to enjoy peace.
The Adventist Church has promoted peacemaking efforts since
its inception, and world church president Ted N.C. Wilson has made several
calls in recent days for special prayers about the turmoil in Iraq, Syria, and
The UN commemorated International Day of Peace with a
ceremony on Friday, and the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, called on people
worldwide to observe a minute of silence at noon on Sept. 21, the day of the
official observance, to reflect on what peace means for the human family.
“We must douse the fires of extremism and tackle the root
causes of conflict,” Ban said in comments published on the UN website. “Peace
is a long road that we must travel together — step by step, beginning today.”
Wilson asked Adventist staff at the world church
headquarters last week to especially pray for Iraq and Syria, where IS
militants have killed and tortured scores of Christians in recent months. He
said no more than 50 Adventists remain in Iraq, and the Adventist Church has
been outlawed in Syria for years.
Homer Trecartin, president of the church’s Middle East North
Africa Union, which includes Iraq and Syria, said people would need to embrace Jesus’
teaching of “turning the other cheek” for peace to return to the region.
“I believe more than ever before that real peace will come
when we are willing to follow the example of Jesus and suffer wrong without
retaliation or revenge,” he said.
A tense ceasefire is in place in Ukraine after fighting
killed more than 3,000 people since April. But Wilson spoke with concern about
the welfare of the Ukrainian people, including local Adventists. He noted that
the largest percentage of Adventists in the church’s Euro-Asia Division lived
in Ukraine before the turmoil erupted.
Guillermo Biaggi, president of the Euro-Asia Division, said
peace was something difficult to achieve and easy to lose.
“We need to base it in a stronger, more permanent and
unshakable foundation than human words, treaties and agreements,” he said. “For
peace to become true in our lives and modern societies, we need to pray
earnestly to our Lord and to count with the One who said, ‘I am the way and the
truth and the life.’”
John Graz, director of the Adventist Church’s Public Affairs
and Religious Liberty department, described the International Day of Peace as a
“time to strengthen the ideals of peace, and to celebrate those who dedicate
their lives to peace making.”
“Durable peace cannot be built without developing education,
health, justice and freedom for all people,” he said. “That’s why the Adventist
Church has heavily invested in schools, hospitals and organizations promoting
freedom of conscience.”
United Nations website: “Marking International Day, UN Affirms People's Right to 'Imagine' and Live in Peace”