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By Wanda Gail Campbell

Brief history and commentary of peace prayer circles inspiration:

A Season for Nonviolence (SNV) represents 64 days that focus on the concept that awareness of nonviolent principles and practices is a powerful way to heal, transform and empower our lives-both individually and in community. It was inspired by the powerful life examples of M.K. Gandhi, M.L. King Jr., and Cesar Chavez and is based on honoring the dignity and worth of every human being. The designated dates of focus each year are January 30th through April 4th. This movement includes all people with a genuine interest in peace.

Because we know that peace actually comes from within the hearts and minds of individuals, peace prayer circles begin with personal introspection and contemplation. Our first challenge is to self-reveal what peace looks and feels like within. Giving voice to ones insights is an important way to individually contribute to external peace.

We must first recognize that any thought or action that violates the sanctity of life is considered a form of violence. Sometimes we have violent thoughts even towards ourselves. Everything we do is first begun in thought, whether consciously or unconsciously. Most of us violate quite unconsciously. In personal contemplation we can identify patterns and behaviors that we desire to change through personal awareness, agape love and conscious effort.

So, we begin in the silence to notice where inner peace is not yet complete and to intentionally release everything that is not peaceful. We can then reveal, to ourselves and others, the true nature of ourselves created in the likeness of our creator which, to me, is Pure Love Essence.

SNV Purpose Statement:

Our purpose is to create an awareness of nonviolent principles and practices as a powerful way to heal, transform, and empower our lives and communities.

Through and educational and community action campaign, we are honoring those who are using nonviolence to build a community that honors the dignity and worth of every human being.

We are demonstrating that every person can move the world in the direction of peace through his or her daily nonviolent choice and action.

Guidelines for Creating Peace Prayer Circles

1. A facilitator with a strong desire to create the circle is needed.

2. Meeting at least once per month from May through December is recommended. Beginning near the end of January through early April, weekly meetings with a focus on the weekly theme is optimal. (Refer to the attached booklet for weekly and daily themes.) (64 days & ways)

3. Once the circle is established, the group would best be served by rotating the facilitator role to give everyone an opportunity to serve the whole.

4. Determine where you can gather that fosters a sense of peace and personal safety. Consider that each person will want to be physically relaxed and comfortable as well as emotionally and spiritually open.

5. Decide how many people can sit together comfortably for about 45 to 60 minutes in the designated space. (You may want to change the space if the circle expands beyond your expectations.)

6. Find a mutually agreeable time to sit together.

7. Begin by reading the purpose statement and a brief prayer (optional). (Suggestions are prayers from around the world and numerous religions as printed by James Twyman, Peace Troubadour, in his book Praying Peace.)

8. Allow about 20 minutes to sit in silence and another 20 minutes (or more as the size of the group demands) to share insights about what peace looks and feels like from each individual experience.

9. You may benefit from having a soft chiming mechanical timer to designate when 20 minutes has passed or to simply take turns monitoring the time. A soft, gentle chime or bell is a pleasant way to bring everyone’s attention back into the group.

10. The designated facilitator begins the discussion by asking, “Who would like to share what peace looks like in your view?” Each member is given the opportunity to share without interruption. Unsolicited feedback or cross-talk is discouraged. Remember that only the individual can know and describe his/her experience.