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30 Days of Peace creation service, refugee talk, awards this week

Senior President of Seventy John Wight of Community of Christ, Central USA and North East USA mission fields

ALPENA ­­– The 30 Days of Peace concludes with a host of interesting activities all week long, centering on a worldview of bringing the human race, animals and nature together in unity.

Sacred Creation

A Sacred Creation Presentation will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Alpena Community of Christ, featuring local speakers and a visit from Senior President of Seventy John Wight, who oversees the Central USA and North East USA mission fields, and travels internationally on a regular basis.

Wight travels from Inpendence, Mo., and his presentation will be complemented by personal testimonies from local speakers addressing the topic of taking care of God’s creation, plants, water, air, animals, people and all.

“Everything was created, and everything is really alive, both spiritually and materially,” said Alpena Community of Christ Pastor Gary Villeneuve, adding that this presentation “just is an opportunity to try to challenge each of us in better respecting each other as well as respecting the Earth.”

In addition to Wight, speakers include Stan Mischley talking about recycling, Pastor Gary’s wife Barbara Villeneuve about their recent experience out west visiting Yellowstone National Park, and Kim Sumerix, a family counselor.

Music will be incorporated into the event, with accompaniment by organist Alison Woods of Ossineke, who pastors the Community of Christ in Lachine.

“When we talk about the definition of peacemaker, it’s one who reveres and protects all people, all creatures and all creation,” said Alpena Peace Coalition member and 30 Days of Peace organizer Carol Skiba.

Refugee talk

Then on Thursday at 6 p.m., Professor Tim Kuehnlein will make a presentation at Alpena Community College’s Granum Theatre called Refugees or Criminals: A Look at El Salvador.

“The story of Archbishop Oscar Romero (Raul Julia) and the case of El Salvador is case in point, the focus of the evening,” Kuehnlein explained. “Using the film ‘Romero’ (1989), we will gain understanding of the struggles of Central American countries, the politics and the plea of the people who often become victims of the larger struggles of geo-political power and forces at play, motivating them to flee for safety, stability, tranquility, opportunity, and peace. The story of Romero is a testament to the dynamic refugee crises, population shifts, and the implications for regional stability — much less the importance of clear immigration policies of surrounding countries. It is a timeless story of cause and effect.”

“So in the spirit of 30 Days of Peace, looking at issues of immigration seems to be an appropriate topic given the tension that exists about it in our society and globally,” he said. “When asked to do this presentation, I gladly accepted with the intention of helping people perhaps understand a little bit more about the cause/effect relationships of immigration.”

Student art awards

The conclusion of the entire event will be at noon on Friday at the Alpena Mall, when Mayor Matt Waligora and the Very Rev. Bill McClure will present awards for the Student Peace Contest. The awards ceremony will be held in the gallery room down the hallway to the mall office. Student artwork will be displayed all this week in the gallery for public viewing.

“The kids explain their projects and talk about their projects, and Bill McClure does a great job eliciting a response from them,” Skiba said of the ceremony. She added, “I’d like to acknowledge McDonald’s because they give us 300 coupons, and they’ve been doing that for 10 years. It’s very generous, and very supportive.”

Skiba said it is fitting that the 30 Days concludes right around the birthday of American journalist Daniel Pearl, who was beheaded in Pakistan by extremists while caught investigating bombings related to Al-Qaeda. Pearl was born on Oct. 10, 1963, and killed on Feb. 1, 2002. He worked for The Wall Street Journal as the South Asia Bureau Chief based in Mumbai, India.

The Daniel Pearl Foundation, formed in 2002, “promotes mutual respect and understanding among diverse cultures through journalism, music and dialogue,” www.danielpearl.org explains. “In Danny, the terrorists believed they abducted a media figure, an American, and a Jew. But they had much more — a true citizen of the world and an embodiment of civilized values, whose death, like his life, would inspire millions of people in the cause of decency and cultural understanding.”

For more information about the 30 Days of Peace, call Skiba at 989-916-7049. Donations are accepted at Grace Lutheran Church.

30 Days of Peace final events this week

¯ Tuesday through Thursday, 9 a.m. — Prayer for Peace at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Pastor John Shipman’s office.

¯ Tuesday at 7 p.m. — Sacred Creation Presentation, Alpena Community of Christ on Clinton Street.

¯ Wednesday at noon — Peace Liturgy at Trinity Episcopal.

¯ Thursday at 6 p.m. — Professor Tim Kuehnlein speaks at ACC’s Granum Theatre about Refugees or Criminals: A Look at El Salvador.

¯ Friday at noon — Peace Contest Awards with Mayor Matt Waligora and the Very Rev. Bill McClure, Alpena Mall Gallery Room.