Giving peace another chance

Giving peace another chance

Coalition of Pasadena-area churches sponsors three peace-related events on 10-year Iraq War anniversary

By André Coleman 03/21/2013

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A tradition that started with the invasion of Iraq celebrates its 10th anniversary this weekend — the start of Holy Week on the Christian calendar — with two events aimed at promoting peace and ending violence. 
 
Saturday’s Peace Concert and Sunday’s Palm Sunday Peace Parade from Messiah Lutheran Church, 570 E. Orange Grove Blvd., to Paseo Colorado in Midtown Pasadena are sponsored by the March to Peace Coalition, an alliance of Pasadena-area churches and other faith-based organizations.
 
A third peace-related event — a gun buyback recently approved by the City Council’s Public Safety Committee — is set for May 11.
 
“We began in 2003 in response to the war and the reason was to get the churches out marching,” said Peace Parade creator Bert Newton. “There had been a lot of secular marches in downtown LA and we wanted to get the churches out. The first year there was 23 people and by the third year there were 200 people, and that’s usually what we have now.”
 
According to coalition spokesperson Jill Shook, 250 churches have been asked to participate in the gun buyback. In exchange for nonworking guns, participants will receive a $50 gift certificate. A working pistol fetches $100 and $200 will be given for an assault weapon. 
 
“It talks in the Bible about how Jesus came on a donkey ending war. We are expanding that vision to include addressing gun violence,” said Shook. “Our goal is to be able to take the guns and melt them into some type of public art symbolizing the melting of swords into plowshares and the unity among the churches. It has been very exciting. It is different because the faith community is taking the lead on this."
 
The Peace Concert will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday at Messiah Lutheran Church. Call (626) 795-7748. 
The Palm Sunday Peace Parade will kick off Sunday at 3:30 p.m., starting from Messiah Lutheran Church and ending in front of Paseo Colorado.

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