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An Invitation... 72 hours — Toward the Millenium

You are invited to join with people of faith from around the world to participate in an unprecedented act of inter-religious global cooperation — 72 hours of interfaith peace-building at the turn of the millennium, as a living pledge to a new and more hopeful future for all people.

On December 31, 1999, humanity's bloodiest century will end. Much of this blood was shed, and continues to be shed, in the name of religion. All too often, people of faith have encouraged violence and warfare, or have been silent. If we do not change our behavior, the next century may well be bloodier than the last.

Such violence is not restricted to places like Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Indonesia. Those are merely the places we see its most bitter fruits. Violence has its roots in ignorance, misunderstanding, fear, and hatred, and these forces are present in our own home communities. Here too, people of faith share at least some responsibility for having allowed these seeds to grow.

It is time not just to stop religious violence, but to uproot all the things that lead to such violence. It is time to act together in the spirit of hope that is found at the heart of all our faith traditions.

On January 1, 2000, we will cross the threshold into a new millennium, a moment of focused global hope for the future. Even for those who keep time by other calendars, this threshold offers a historic opportunity–a moment to reflect together on our past, and to begin together to sow the seeds of a true peace, grounded in the inexhaustible depth of the sacred.

Many are already at work in the garden. The purpose of the 72 Hours Project is to bring into being a whole new level of global inter-religious cooperation, to commit together to a culture of cooperation and peace, and to create a gift of hope for the generations that will follow us.

Five Commitments

From Friday, December 31, 1999 through Sunday, January 2, 2000, people of faith will mobilize their communities for peace building. To be part of this effort, you are invited to commit to any or all of the following five specific actions:

• Peace Vigil: Participate in a 72-hour global vigil of silence, prayer and meditation for peace in our lives, in our communities, in the world.

• Prayer/Meditation for Spiritual Neighbors: When your religious or spiritual community gathers, offer words of respect, honor and blessing for those of other faiths. Send greetings and blessings to your religious and spiritual neighbors.

• Cooperative Local Action: Explore, with people of other faiths, the peace teachings of your tradition, and commit to cooperate on one clear and tangible peace-building project in your local community by the end of 1999.

• Call to Political Leaders: Wherever possible, call on political leaders at all levels to lead in ceasing violence during these 72 hours, and to commit to transfer military spending to address basic human needs.

• Solidarity in Conflict Zones: Support small interfaith groups of leaders who will travel to areas of deep religious conflict to be in solidarity with those working for peace.

"Peace is every step." — Thich Nhat Hanh

Call Sylvan at 925-1141 for information on 72-hour circles forming in Portland.

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