The LCP (Building Local Capacities for Peace) program of CSI-SEVA have been training young people in the Church of South India over the years to look at conflict situations and work beyond the walls of the Church. These young people along with their diocesan youth groups/ movements of CSI planned and executed a weeklong observance for this year’s International day of Peace (Sep 21st) on the theme, ‘Shaping Peace Together’ by conducting various programs and activities despite difficult pandemic times.
These young people adapted to the new normal by conducting effective programs and activities through online platforms and mechanisms by respecting and following the COVID-19 precautionary measures. Madhya Kerala, Krishna Godavari, Karnataka North, Karimnagar and Dornakal were some of the dioceses which organized events as part of observances for this important day. The series of events were organized and implemented throughout the month of September 2020.
The key events of this year’s observances were:
1. Virtual Choir
The concept of virtual choir was conceived by the youth of Madhya Kerala wanting to include other young people from the entire 12 districts of the Madhya Kerala Diocese (MKD). Due to the ceaseless spread of the virus and the restrictions, these young people were not able to come together and shoot. In order to combat this crisis situation, the song and track was sent to a total of 48 young people, 4 from each of their 12 districts. These young people shot their own video and later collaborated and edited by the team of young experts. The song for the virtual choir was written and composed by the young people of MKD themselves
Shri. Oommen Chandy, the Ex Chief Minister of Kerala, shared his greetings through the zoom session, which was organized by these young people. He also encouraged young people to expand and take up similar initiatives in the future as well. The Rt. Rev. Thomas K. Oommen also gave his heartful greetings to the team of young people. Around 150 people took part in this zoom session, towards the end of the session the video of the virtual choir was premiered.
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/fAfVnCeGGsM
2. Short film – Minutes of Peace
The short film portrays the story of a millennial generation. No matter where we are in the world, and no matter how peaceful the place we are in, truth reveals that we are haunted by what happens around us. We fall into this vertigo of restlessness without even noticing it. We are trying to find answers to these seemingly challenging problems.
How do we combat this? The climax of the short film beautifully showcases the need for being supportive and helping those in need. The short film encourages us to be that light, to guide those away from the power of darkness! As it just takes a moment to be a light.
This short film was scripted, directed, edited by the young people of Madhya Kerala Youth movement.
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/ioRz_UvY5xI
3. Expression of thoughts through Essay writings – Malayalam and English
English topic: Role of Church in Shaping Peace in a post COVID World.
Malayalam topic: സമകാലിക ലോകത്തിൽ "നിങ്ങൾക്കു സമാധാനം": ഒരു പുനർവ്യാഖ്യാനം (Reinterpreting "Peace be with you" in Today's World)
As most of us started to become idle at home day by day due to the incessant lockdown measurers by the government. The idea of essay writing in order to rekindle the thoughts of the writers seemed very much practical and needy for the situation we are at. The response from the young people throughout the diocese was also surprising as a total of 33 young people actively and enthusiastically participated.
“Let us encourage each one of us to act with compassion, mercy and forgiveness towards each other. Encourage people to enlarge their perspective on the current situation so that they are not just focusing on the problem, but looking beyond to see the glory od God amidst difficult times, guiding us towards a solution” – Sharon Mariam Abraham
“We do not know what is going to happen after COVID-19, but we believe in God who knows everything” – Miriam Liz John
“…From all these stumbling blocks, man always rise again with extreme strength even thought the small shadows of these pandemic exist. How much ever man rise, a peaceful mind is always needed. This peace, calm and purity occur from how the role of church lights upon the human race.” – Annuja Mary George
These are some of the words taken from the essays, this surely gives us strength and hope in this pandemic situation.
4. Expression of the theme through photography – Sub theme: A new dawn
Photography was another event which ensured people’s participation and in turn show case their talent by expressing the given theme. The diocesan youth movement decided to modify the theme a bit to ‘A new dawn’ to make it a little more interesting for the participants. The responses from young people gave new perspectives and enlightened the team of organizers. A total of 8 young people participated in this event throughout the diocese.
English and Malayalam essays and Photography Link: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=1TBuZfFMRWiU7tSffOixwJ8XeFIGwh1Da
1. Zoom Session
Beloved Bishop in Krishna Godavari, The Rt. Rev. Dr George Cornelious Tantepudi, spoke to the young people on this auspicious day. He reiterated the need and importance of peace in this contemporary world. He even encouraged young people to take up similar initiatives towards creating peaceful societies. Rev. Ch. John Nischal Kumar, Director of Youth, CSI-Synod also shared his views on the theme shaping peace together and Rev. N. Vincent Raj Kumar, Youth Director – KG Diocese shared his greetings to the group, he even shared the wonderful responses received from young people in the different events conducted by the diocesan youth group.
2. Quote Writing
The youth from the Krishna Godavari Diocese organized a significant event where young people were invited to show their talents through writing quotes on the peace day theme. There were surprising response of over 30 young people participating in this particular event.
“Peace follows the intensions ‘we’ rather than ‘me’.” – Deva Prasanna Rani
“Everywhere I have sought Peace and not found it, except in a corner with a Bible” – Susmitha
“At the end of day, you can only be at peace when your intentions are good, and your heart is pure” – Harshitha Joy
About 32 young people from different parts of the Krishna Godavari diocese participated and showcased their radical photography skills. These young people made their expression meticulously through their art and conveyed the message loudly.
You can view the pictures through this link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/dMfo36qQsmTNQdG66
1. Expression through Drawing
Children between the age of 4 to 15 years showed their talents through drawing on two themes “Shaping Peace Together” and “Combating Climatic Changes”. These children were ignited to think of various ways of reflecting on the theme through their work of art. A total of 27 children of different age groups participated. An expert in the field - Mr. Daniel Dhara assessed arts of children and gave useful comments and added points for improvisation too. Those comments / points for improvisation were attached to the certificates along with attractive prizes in order to encourage the children.
In order to ensure the concept of eco-friendly, the diocesan youth made use of high-quality recycled paper for certificates, handmade papers for writing the comments and paper bags to distribute the prizes.
2. Case study – Peace and Harmony
A zoom session was conducted on the 20th of September 2020, around 20 young people participated in the event. The overview of the session was to reflect on the theme of IPD-2020. A case study was undertaken based on recent communal violence issue which took place on 11 Aug 2020 in K J Halli, Bengaluru which was the talk of the whole nation. The youth were stirred to reflect on various aspects of the issue by asking them poll question, solving puzzles and answering to questions on Google forms. The main intention was to make them analyse and help them understand various principles of peace initiation.
In the introductory part, the youth presented a power point presentation with the factual information of the issue and then key points for discussion were given to the participants.
The opinions and comments from the panel of experts added more weightage to the session. Mr. Manohar Hosea, Senior Advocate, who is actively involved in human rights’ issues presented his valuable views on the case with human rights perspective, wherein he stressed the need for inculcating the human values in the lives of the youth.
Mr. Shivanand Shettar, Head of Gandhian Studies, Karnataka University, Dharwad, threw light on the sociological aspects of the case where in he stressed - “Conflicts are inevitable in a society but how we try to resolve and bring change is the most important thing”. The expert’s opinion gave a wider perspective on the discussed case to the participants.
You can view the pictures through this link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/vXD6S3DBfiDaYnTdA
1. Song on the theme – కలిగించు దేవా నీ శాంతిని
(O, Lord give your peace to us)
This song reiterates that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the peacemaker and He will restore peace and hope amidst these chaotic situations around us.
A brief description about the song,
“Lord, let there be (your) peace and come to take away our unrest,
There is no peace, there is no integrity in the nation.
Oh, king Jesus, give rest to our country by giving your peace to us.”
The lyrics to this meaningful song was written by the Late Rt. Rev. Vadapalli Prasada Rao, former Deputy Moderator and Bishop in Dornakal Diocese.
The young people in the diocese shared their thoughts on how we can make Peace. They are encouraging us to help one other especially our fellow neighbours in whatever possible way we could. This small action can help the nation to overcome from this pandemic situation.
1. Zoom Session
The program started on the 21st of September with an opening prayer by the Karimnagar Diocesan Ministerial Board Convener Rev. Purushotham. After that, a small introduction about LCP (Local Capacities for Peace) and its interventions in conflict transformation, later a video of the 2019 peace day celebration was played.
After which beloved Deputy moderator of CSI and Bishop in Karimnagar, The Rt. Rev. Dr Reuben Mark shared his message, in which he said that during Peace Day everyone talks about peace among nations, organizations and people. But the major thing is that everyone should question themselves, whether one is living in peace and sharing it with others? In general, we share many things which are materialistic like properties, gifts, money and many more, but we do not share peace as frequently as materials. Sharing of peace should be starting right within our family, if you live in peace then you can make others to live in the same way. Show them love and share peace everywhere.
Desmond Tutu once said that, "if you want peace, don't talk to your friends, talk to your enemies". God gave peace not to talk about it, but he gifted us to enjoy, we should enjoy peace by sharing it with others and making others to live in freedom. A total of 76 young people participated in the zoom session.
2. Photography and 3. Painting
A total of 40 young people from different parts of the Karimnagar diocese took part in this event. These young people shared their artwork through drawing, painting and through their Photographic skills. The peace day theme was given to these young people, it was intriguing to receive such wonderful responses from young people of the Karimnagar diocese. Few of the artwork were even displayed during the abovementioned zoom session. As part of encouraging these young people gifts and mementos were distributed.
You can view the pictures through this link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ANkD7CufsQJosVdi6
To Conclude, let us get through this difficult catastrophe, by coming together as a peacebuilding community, peacebuilding country, sitting at our corner of the Earth. Even though we may not be able to stand next to each other, we can still dream together and spread compassion, kindness and hope in the face of the Covid19 pandemic. Let us stand together and use this pandemic situation to fight against hatred and discrimination and shape peace together.
Our sincere thanks and appreciations to the LCP youth from various dioceses: Ms. Ansu Sara Oommen, Mr. Rohit Tera, Ms. Rachana I Malekar, Mr. Sandeep Jason, and Ms. Uharika Sharon and every single youth member from each of the abovementioned dioceses who took efforts to plan, to improvise and to execute and also to those participants from each of the dioceses who actively participated despite difficult times.
Praveen Daniel S
Program Executive – LCP