International Day of Peace 2020

The All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) today held a special devotion in its Nairobi Chapel to commemorate the International Day of Peace 2020. 
Led by the General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Fidon Mwombeki, the AACC was joined in the commemoration by Rev. Fred Nyabera, Director, Interfaith Initiative to End Child Poverty, Arigatou International, and Venerable J.W. Kofi deGraft-Johnson, General Secretary, Council of African Provinces of Africa, who were both accompanied by a team from their offices. Rev. Nyabera was the guest preacher.
The International Day of Peace is observed globally on 21st September every year. The United Nations General Assembly established the International day of Peace in 1981, and voted unanimously in 2001 to designate the Day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire, and to be observed through education and public awareness on issues related to peace as well.
 The 2020 theme for the International Day of Peace is “Shaping Peace Together,” focusing on the Coronavirus pandemic.  
In his message, Rev. Nyabera said that peace can only prevail where everyone has fair and equal access to justice, security and basic socio-economic and cultural rights. 
“Peace is, therefore, a state of order, of freedom from fear and want, of being secure…that is shalom,” he noted, adding that COVID-19 has exposed the persistent societal inequalities, injustices and the neglect of the most marginalized segments of our society.
He noted that lockdowns had worsened violence against women and children, even as crime reduced due to restrictions of movement.
“It is in this context that the African Churches are called on to respond to the appalling status of women; to analyze theologically the Christian understanding of violence, and to actively engage in ecumenical advocacy networking for elimination of this vice,” he said.
He called for the empowering of youth ambassadors, existing local churches and community peace actors and peace committees that are common across Africa.
“Local actors that are embedded in communities impacted by conflict can continue to work on sustaining peace processes even when professional peacebuilders are unable to gain access to these communities in the face of restricted movements, he noted.
Dr. Rev. Mwombeki noted that the absence of violence did not necessarily mean that there was peace. He cited the cases of both Togo and Zimbabwe where, despite there being no violence, the residents were not at peace.