Churches and faith-based organizations across Colombia will take to Colombia’s streets September 21 to recognize Pan y Paz, or Bread and Peace, a Mennonite-organized and Colombia-tailored version of the United Nations’ International Day of Peace.
Part proselytizing mission – religious literature will be hand out along with bread – and part social protest — organizers say they hope to draw attention to the connections between peace and hunger; poverty and injustice – approximately 36 events are expected throughout the country.
Organizers note that some two-thirds of Colombia’s population still live in poverty and severe economic inequality, a situation exacerbated by a decades-long armed conflict between Colombia’s army, various rebel groups and paramilitaries.
Activities include all-day prayer vigils, workshops, forums, peace festivals and marches. There will also be concerts, theater, Biblical reflections, films and the sharing of bread and literature on peace and nonviolence.
Started in 2002, organizers say celebrations have become increasingly more ecumenical. Last year some 90 separate congregations from 25 different denominations took place involving an estimated 11,000 people.
“Let us stand together as we all work towards bringing the gospel of peace to the world,” said organizers.