October 5, 2011
Evelyn Hanneman, BPFNA's Operations Coordinator, writes....
I just returned from two weeks in Liberia, where I led four training sessions on Conflict Transformation and nonviolence with Liberian Baptist pastors and leaders. Virgil Nelson, retired American Baptist Churches USA pastor and missionary to the DR Congo, and his wife, Lynn, accompanied me.
Liberia has suffered from 14 years of civil wars, which ended with a peace treaty in 2003. Their first national elections following the wars were held in 2005. October 11 will be their second national elections, and emotions are running high as 16 candidates vie for the presidency. One candidate has threatened violence if he does not win.
In meetings with the Liberian Council of Churches and the Baptist Convention of Liberia, we discussed their concerns about the possibility of violence before, during and after the October elections. Through our trainings, a campaign for nonviolence was developed which the Liberian Council of Churches is picking up. You can participate by joining in the time to pray for peace.
The Liberian Nonviolence Campaign has several parts:
Pledge of Nonviolence - Liberians are being urged to take this pledge: "I will not commit acts of violence before, during and after the election." As a sign of having taken the pledge, they are encouraged to wear a white wristband (as simple as a piece of yarn) or white cloth pinned to their shirt.
Days of Prayers and Fasting leading up to the elections - The Liberian Council of Churches is working with the Muslim community on this project. Muslims will pray and fast for peace October 5-7 and Christians will pray and fast for peace October 9-10.
Prayer vigils outside polling sites - Local churches are urged to have people stand vigil outside polling sites with a sign saying "praying for peace" and to invite those who have voted to stand with them in prayer.
I urge those of us not in Liberia to join in the Days of Prayers and Fasting before the elections.
BPFNA Operations Coordinator
►For more on BPFNA's recent work in Liberia, click here
to read Evelyn's postcards from the trip.