Wednesday September 14, 2005

Prayers for Peace

A Sept. 26 interfaith prayer breakfast will kick off 10th anniversary events commemorating the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords.

Dayton: A Peace Process (DAPP), in cooperation with Interfaith Ministries for Reconciliation and the Dayton International Peace Museum, kicks off its 10th anniversary commemoration of the historic Dayton Peace Accords with an Interfaith Legacy Prayer Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 26, at Sinclair College's Ponitz Center Great Hall in Building 12.

The breakfast is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. Reservations may be made by e-mailing Mea Greenwood or by calling (937) 229-3557.

The event was inspired by the peace accords negotiated in Dayton in 1995 that brought an end to the siege of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the killing there. Religious leaders from every faith tradition in Dayton and the Miami Valley are invited to attend and pray for peace in the world and for the reconciliation of widely separated peoples, including those on the Gulf Coast who are victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Linda Katz will perform cello music from 7:30 to 8 a.m. in honor of the people of Sarajevo and of Vedran Smailovic, the famous "Cellist of Sarajevo." Smailovic, principal cellist of the Sarajevo Opera Orchestra, took his cello to the crater left by a deadly blast and, amidst the sniper fire, played for 22 consecutive days, one for each of his friends and neighbors who had been killed.

Also performing at the breakfast will be Ray Two Crows Wallen and Alicia Pagán.

The Interfaith Legacy Prayer Breakfast on Sept. 26 is one of three religious events that DAPP is sponsoring. Desmond Tutu, former archbishop of South Africa, has been invited to lead an interfaith worship service at 3 p.m. on Nov. 13 at the Masonic Temple. On Nov. 14, Beth Abraham Synagogue will host a "Religious Roundtable on Reconciliation." The roundtable, moderated by the Rev. James L. Heft, chancellor and professor of faith and culture at the University of Dayton, will feature a dialogue between Bosnian religious leaders and Dayton-area religious leaders.

"DAPP wants to nurture the healing side of religion over the violent side," said Gary Percesepe, chair of the DAPP Interfaith Committee. "Fundamentalism and the failure of secular systems - when combined with the pressures of modernity and globalization - have inspired the use of religion in conflicts. This prayer breakfast is designed to make the world and our community safer for religious differences, by establishing trust and building relationships."

As part of 10th anniversary events, DAPP, in affiliation with the Dayton Council on World Affairs, is organizing a series of high-profile events this fall that will examine Bosnia-Herzegovina 10 years later, compare peace-building challenges in the Balkans with those in Iraq and other post-conflict situations, and explore the role of religion in conflicts and in peacemaking in the world's strife-torn areas. As one highlight, Richard Holbrooke, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and chief negotiator of the Dayton Peace Accords, will receive the Dayton Peace Prize at a 7:30 p.m. dinner on Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Schuster Center.

For information on commemorative events, click here.

Contact Gary Percespe at (937) 215-6172 or Gary Percespe.