A Service for Peace
Here are resources for a service for Peace which has as its focus a Peace Tree. This is suitable for the Week of Prayer for Peace in early October. See service poster in Posters.
For this service you will need to make a special altar frontal. Make the background for a paper altar frontal to fit your altar (see How to Make).
With a pencil lightly mark the centre of the altar frontal from top to bottom. Now with a pencil draw the outline of a tree shape onto the altar frontal. Write the word ‘PEACE’ repeatedly inside the shape of the tree, using thick and thin black pens for the trunk and branches (see Gallery photos).
Make tiny slits on the trunk and branches with a craft knife and from the back insert split pins, opening them out on the front to create hooks.
Write a short prayer for peace and print it onto small cards. Punch a small hole in one corner of each card. Cut doves out of white card (see dove templates in How to Make). Write the names of countries where peace is needed on the doves and punch a small hole in each tail. The doves will be hung on the Peace Tree before the service and the prayer cards will be hung on the Peace Tree during the service using the hooks (see Gallery photo).
On the Sunday before the Peace Tree Service give everyone a prayer card to use in their prayer time at home through the week. Ask people to write their own prayer for peace on the other side of their card and bring the card back for the Peace Tree Service the following Sunday. Keep some spare cards to give to those who do not have them on the day.
Hang the doves on the Peace Tree before the service begins.
Song suggestions are listed at the end.
Give prayer cards to those who do not have them already or who have not brought them back to church.
Jesus said, ‘My peace I leave you, my peace I give you.
Do not be troubled or afraid.’
Peace be with you
and peace be with you.
Peace be with our neighbours
and peace be with our community.
Peace be with our land
and peace be with our world.
We gather in peace.
Thanks be to God.
Recorded or Accompanying Music
During this the people bring forward their prayer cards and hang them on the Peace Tree.
Prayers of Penitence
Coventry Litany of Reconciliation (available online)
The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
Adapted from the Prayer of St Francis
Use two voices, one to read the words in italic the other to read the prayers that follow.
Lord, make us instruments of your peace;
Father God, as we look around the world and see so much pain and destruction, we pray that through these prayers you will make everyone gathered here today instruments of your peace.
We pray we will always be aware of the needs of our sisters and brothers in other parts of the world and constantly hold them out to you in prayer.
where there is hatred, let us sow love;
We pray for those whose lives are being destroyed through mistrust and fear, where hatred overshadows love.
We pray that all Christians who are being persecuted, and whose lives are in danger, will know the love of God surrounding them.
where there is injury, pardon;
We pray for those places where violence shatters and breaks lives and leads to even more sadness and pain.
We pray for doctors and nurses, the United Nations, and all aid agencies as they try to bring comfort and healing in difficult and dangerous situations.
where there is doubt, faith;
We pray for those places in the world where neighbours who have lived side by side for years now want to hurt and destroy each other.
We pray for world leaders engaged in peace talks whose difficult task is to find ways to reconcile those of different faiths, so that people’s trust in each other is rebuilt and peace can be restored.
where there is despair, hope;
We pray for all who are frightened by what they read and hear, who constantly live with rumours and whispers around them, in despair for themselves and their families.
We pray for all who have lost their homes, possessions and jobs and have nowhere to stay tonight, and that through the support of the international aid effort a sense of hope may soon return to their lives.
where there is darkness, light;
We pray for all who cannot see any light in their lives, those who grieve for the death of loved ones and can see no way forward.
We pray that Christ’s light will enter their darkness and show them a way forward.
where there is sadness, joy.
We pray for the healing and rebuilding of broken communities.
We pray for the end of war and we long for the coming together of all God’s children, that they may live in peace and harmony together as God intended.
All say together
O divine Master,
grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
As the Peace Tree holds our prayer concerns in its strong branches,
may we go from this place holding those same concerns in our hearts.
We have gathered to worship God.
Lord, make us peace-bearers.
We have listened to God’s word.
Lord, make us peace-bearers.
We have prayed for the world in its brokenness.
Lord, make us peace-bearers.
We go from this place to worship, listen and pray,
that we may become bearers of your peace.
These may be in more than one book.
Ancient & Modern – Hymns and Songs for Refreshing Worship
God of freedom, God of justice
Lord, make us servants of your peace
The kingdom of God is justice and joy
Hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise
Go peaceful, in gentleness
Healing river of the Spirit
Make me a channel of your peace
Alleluia! Raise the Gospel
Bearers of peace
Healer of our every ill
Songs of Fellowship
Men of faith
O Lord, the clouds are gathering
The Lord’s my Shepherd (Townend)
In God Alone – CD Love Goes On (Bernadette Farrell)
In our tears - CD Dreamcatcher (Secret Garden)
Peace Child – CD Go Before Us (Bernadette Farrell)
Theme music from film 'Schindler's List'
World Peace Prayer – CD In The Days to Come: Songs of Peace (Marty Haugen & Marc Anderson)
Watching for the Kingfisher – Poems and Prayers (Ann Lewin)