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Let there be peace

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RONAN — On Thursday, Sept. 21, Mission Valley United Methodist Church invited the community to attend a celebration of International Peace Day, a global event endorsing non-violence and harmony.

Last year Clarise Wittenger, from the Mission contingent of the church, encouraged the creation and dedication of a peace pole, on which there are several different languages. This year’s expanded celebration included face painting, rock painting and cake walk activities from 6-6:30 p.m., followed by prayer, singing and four brief talks from notable speakers. The evening ended with an ethnic potluck dinner for the 45-50 people in attendance.

Mission Valley United Methodist Church’s Pastor, Jon Umbdenstock, provided an opening prayer for peace and a responsorial litany calling on deliverance from the curse of war, pride, national vanity posing as patriotism, boasting, self-righteousness and selfishness among other things. 

Pat Matt, co-pastor of Life for the Nations Church in downtown Ronan, drummed and sang a song in his native Salish Language inspired by Salish elder Octave Finley. Prior to Finley’s passing, Matt would seek him out for wisdom and advice. 

Tracy McDonald stood in for her father, Joe McDonald, who could not attend. She said, “If we are thankful all day – we start seeing the world through Jesus’ eyes.”

Pastor Umbdenstock spoke of the beauty of differences with the statement, “God made us and all other people, with all our differences, on purpose – (we are) supposed to grow, stretch and be grateful for these differences.”

Other speakers included Father Victor Cancino and Pastor Seth Nelson. Pastor Nelson said, “Actively seeking for the benefit of others – that is the peace. That is holy work – thank you for being part of it.”

Event organizer, Shirley McDonald said she was pleased it all went so well. “(The) speakers each brought a unique part to it,” she said. “It was very uplifting.”

The prayer portion of the vent ended with those gathered singing, “Let there be peace on earth.”

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