The theme of the event is "Building a Culture of Peace." As part of the program, coalition members Mario Spalatin and Jean Ranallo plan to talk about the coalition's project to help to remove land mines from Pakrac, Croatia.
Church leader at Peace Day event Rev. Fahed Abu-Akel will speak at Englewood's World Peace Day event.
ENGLEWOOD -- The national leader of the Presbyterian Church will speak at a World Peace Day celebration scheduled for New Year's Day in Englewood. The Rev. Fahed Abu-Akel, moderator of the 2002 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, will join the Rev. Fred Morris, executive director of the Florida Council of Churches, in addressing participants at Englewood United Methodist Church, 700 E. Dearborn St. The event, which is open to the public, is slated to begin at 11 a.m. Three Englewood-area organizations devoted to peace -- the Southwest Florida Peace Education Coalition, the Englewood Ministerial Association and the Prayer Day for World Peace Committee -- came together to stage the event. The coalition started World Peace Day in Englewood 14 years ago as a way for people of different faiths to pray for peace at the same time, said coalition member Peter Duisberg. "The basis is if we all pray together regardless of our beliefs, maybe we'll have some impact," Duisberg said. "The idea is to have people pray at approximately the same time for peace in the world. … They might inspire us and our politicians to really work on it." Moderator is the highest elected office in the Presbyterian Church, and Abu-Akel is the first Palestinian-Christian-Arab ever elected. Abu-Akel is a U.S. citizen who spent part of his childhood living in a Palestinian refugee camp. He is scheduled to talk about his view that peace is possible between the Israelis and the Palestinians. He may also speak about his opposition to a war between the United States and Iraq, Duisberg said. Abu-Akel is a minister in Atlanta. Morris was a Methodist missionary in northeast Brazil, one of the poorest areas in the world, Duisberg said. The theme of the event is "Building a Culture of Peace." As part of the program, coalition members Mario Spalatin and Jean Ranallo plan to talk about the coalition's project to help to remove land mines from Pakrac,Croatia. Prayers stressing commonalities among different religions' peace doctrines will be offered by members of the Baha'i, Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths, Duisberg said. There will also be music at the event. A post-program reception will feature a slide show of Ranallo's visit to Croatia, as well as paintings by artist Linda Ohlson Graham. There will be an opportunity to sign petitions against violence and war. For more information, call the church at 474-5588.