Jan. 4, 2013: This year we’ll recognize ‘Unsung Heroes of Peace,’ by Sister Janet Lander

January 4, 2013 by

Recently members the Year of Peace Committee, asked ourselves, “Should we have yet another Year of Peace? What will one more year accomplish?”

About 3½ years ago our committee came together to launch the first Year of Peace, complete with a Declaration of the Year of Peace by our mayor, signs for business windows, T-shirts, a booth at the Fallfest and much more! We have kept the invitation to personal and communal peacemaking before the eyes of the community in these columns in the Blade-Empire, the annual Civility Pledge drive, a monthly KNCK radio spot, National Night Out, a film series and book studies, among other means of deepening our understanding of what it means to be a people of peace.

So that leaves us with the real question: Are we finished? Have we done it?

The Year of Peace Committee has been heartened by both the desire of other communities to model their work for civil discourse and nonviolence on Concordia’s, and also by the seeming growth of our own community into a friendlier, community-minded city. Yet, it seems that there is always room for improvement. Peace is greater than the absence of violence, though we’ll never come to fulfillment without conversion of hearts through active nonviolence. Growth in love has no limits. Thus, we are launching yet another Year of Peace!

Last year’s theme was “Year of Peace: Bringing People Together,” a focus on the development of “social capital” as a means to peace in our community.

We are aware that many people have made significant, though sometimes hidden, contributions to the community helping to enlarge the presence of peace among us. For the 2013 Year of Peace, then, our theme will be “Recognizing Unsung Heroes of Peace.”

There are many among us who, through selfless service, build the culture of peace in our neighborhoods, institutions and businesses. This year we will honor them in many of our Year of Peace columns as a way to inspire each of us to use our gifts for a culture of peace and the common good.

And as the year begins, we are once again launching our annual Civility Pledge drive. Pledge sheets will be available to renew your pledge — or make it for the first time — in the places where they have been available before, such as the Frank Carlson Library and Neighbor to Neighbor, 103 E. 6th St.

Or, if you prefer, CLICK HERE for a PDF  you can download, print out and sign. Then mail it to Bob Steimel, P.O. Box 213, Concordia KS 66901. (Or drop it off to Bob at the Century 21 office downtown.)

The deadline for signing the 2013 pledge is March 29.

Signing the pledge makes a difference. A public commitment reminds me that I have promised to interact with all others with respect, and allows others to call me to be my best self, whether it is in a public situation, my place of work, or the privacy of my own home.

This is not only personally transformative, but models a path of interpersonal reverence inviting the whole community to rise to a higher level of communication. Let us be as leavening in the loaf of our world by spreading the peace among ourselves in Concordia, and beyond.

 

— Sister Janet Lander is on the staff of Manna House of Prayer and is a member of the Concordia Year of Peace Committee.

 

 

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