Praying for Afghan peace

  • May 1, 2007
TORONTO - Prayers and peace have been linked for as long as soldiers have marched off to war. A couple hundred people gathered at St. James Anglican Cathedral April 22 to take Canada’s turn at praying for peace, for endangered Canadian soldiers and for the men trying to kill them.
In a homily delivered halfway through a traditional Anglican Evensong, United Church minister Rev. Dr. David MacDonald, who has represented both the Progressive Conservative and New Democratic Party in the House of Commons, made the point that both the life and message of Jesus remains profoundly political.

“We are not innocent bystanders,” MacDonald told the ecumenical gathering.

Delivering the first reading from the Book of Daniel was a moving and important occasion for 23-year-old Ethiopian Orthodox Canadian Redeat Maru Tefera. Tefera was asked to represent her church when her pastor could not make it.

“I come from a Third World country,” said Tefera. “War is not foreign to us.”

The recent Ryerson University graduate said she was impressed that so many churches could gather to pray for peace, and despite differences in style, all settle on essentially the same message.

“The thing that stood out for me was just the unified message,” she said.

Sixteen Christian churches were represented among the clergy offering prayers for peace.

Archdiocese of Toronto ecumenical and interfaith affairs officer Damian MacPherson based his prayer on the Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, Quaker Society of Friends representative Judy Gilbert offered a moment of silence, and Commissioner Christine MacMillan asked God to “Protect the innocent. Touch the hearts of those in power and cause them to recognize the wisdom and righteousness in the way of compassion and justice.”

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