Archive for the ‘culture of peace’ Category


How prayer took down the Wall

Tonight’s speaker was Christian Führer, the pastor of the Nikolai Kirche in Leipzig, who has been instrumental in the prayer and peaceful resistance movement that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. I must say I hung on this guy’s lips from beginning to end.
In the beginning of the eighties the Nikolai Kirche opened her doors for ‘alternative’ young people who had formed protest groups for disarmament. “I suddenly realised,” says Christian, “that if we would open our doors for these types, the communists would no longer be able to say that the church was just a museum, a place for old ladies waiting to die. The church could again become a grassroots counter movement.”
In 1982 the Nikolai Kirche started weekly prayer meetings, that went on unbroken for seven years, until the Wall fell. When discouragement kicked in, they reminded each other of Jesus’ words that when two or three gather, He is in their midst. “We realised that if we would stop praying, there would be no hope for change in Germany.”

A few years later Christian started a group for people who wanted to leave the ‘socialist paradise’. He put a sign in front of the church building saying ‘this church is open for everyone’. “Soon we became the best guarded place in the whole GDR because we took ordinary people seriously, and offered them hope.”
When in 1988 a group of protesters got arrested in Berlin, the Nikolai Kirche started daily prayer meetings for their release. Hundreds of people joined in, many of them non-Christians. The sermon on the mount was central to these prayer gatherings, that quickly drew over 2,000 people. This made the government nervous and they sent hundreds of undercover agents to the prayer meetings. “This was just great,” says Christian. “The government sent its employees to church, and they were now forced to listen to Jesus’ teachings. So I started the meeting with a ‘warm welcome to the unofficial representants of the state’. Everyone laughed, except the secret police guys. The people turned their heads and could immediately spot the cops. This broke the tension.”
By October 1989 over 60.000 people had gathered in and around the church. It was the largest demonstration ever held in the GDR. Everyone had brought candles. “The Lord reminded me of this Scripture that says that ‘it’s not by might, and not by power, but by His Spirit’. The only successful revolution in Germany was a non-violent one.
 Later the police stated that they were prepared for everything, but not for prayer and candles.”
Another example that history is in the hands of the intercessors. The full text of Christian’s is available in German.

There is some more information in English here:


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This site contains “A firsthand account of one German man’s experience living through World War II.”


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Gandhiji told us in I forget which session, “There is a soul force in the universe which if we permit it will flow through us and produce miraculous results.”
                                            . . . .

“…we have an audacious idea that says nonviolent peacekeeping is effective and infectious.”

                                         Mel Duncan


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“As the death count rises for Iraqis and Afghanis, it is apparent that at its most basic level, these are their wars.  It’s essential that our curriculum confronts this fact truthfully. War is not Hollywood, war is not a macho presidential boast that we’ll ‘smoke ’em out.’
War is life left empty and twisted and brutalized. …

… whose wars?  Our wars. We pay the bills, we elect the representatives who vote the war appropriations, and in daily actions, we oppose, support, or acquiesce to U.S. wars. These are our wars and our students’ wars – to support or to stop.”

                                                   Bill Bigelow


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Let us wake up, come together,
and work on cleaning and healing our planet,
instead of further destroying it.
Let’s not waste one more day in creating a machinery of destruction.
Give us a chance.
On behalf of ourselves and all species on Earth.
We can do it.
We must.

Yoko Ono
Address to the United Nations, 2005


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my task…

In adolescence I aimed to change the world — to right the wrongs of humanity on a global scale. I envisioned an end to war, oppression, injustice, and strife.

 Soon I realized that I would have to change my own community first. Only after succeeding here, could I hope to impact upon the world. So I set out to improve education, mediate quarrels, and introduce proper priorities into local politics.

Finally, I saw that my real work was with my family. I must begin by changing and perfecting those closest to me — my wife and children.

Only later did I see that my true focus of effort must be myself — that to become a kind and decent human being was a life’s worth of work. And if, with the grace and assistances of G-d, I could succeed in this most difficult of tasks, I would be making the greatest of all possible contributions to my family, community, and even to the world.

                                                            Rabbi Yisrael Salanter


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“An optimist isn’t necessarily a blithe, slightly sappy, whistler-in-the-dark of our time. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something…”

“The Optimism of Uncertainty” by Howard Zinn in

Hold Hope, Wage Peace  edited by David Krieger and Carah Ong

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