Marcelo Schneider's blog from the US Living Letters visit

The Living Letters blogs are written to share about visits to specific countries or regions around the world, organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) Decade to Overcome Violence initiative along with assistance from local coordinators, churches and other organizations. The Living Letters blogs are personal narratives from members of the "Living Letters" team and do not necessarily represent the opinion or policies of the World Council of Churches.

A Festival of Peace by the Hudson

The annual Festival of Peace by the Hudson, organized by the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) at their headquarters in Nyack NY gathered a number of people who have been serving the cause of Peace along their lives.

Founded as an international organization in December 1914 and in the USA in 1915, FOR has ever since become an interfaith and international movement with branches and groups in over 40 countries and on every continent. Today the membership of FOR includes Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, and people of other faith traditions, as well as those with no formal religious affiliation.

The Living Letters team had the opportunity to share a few insights about the WCC's DOV and from the cultural background of some of the members of the delegation, in between various musical performances and presentations that took place on the stage that was specially built in the backyard of "Shadowcliff", FOR's national headquarters by the Hudson.

During the celebrations, FOR presented their Peace Prizes and received from the WCC delegation the "Blessed are the Peacemakers" Award as a formal recognition to the long lasting and encouraging efforts of this organization to peace building initiatives in the country.

Informal conversation with FOR staff revealed an interesting historical fact that drove our attention to a further discussion and gave signs to a much needed follow up process. Since its foundation, FOR had close relations with the churches. Also during the second half of the last Century, the churches were engaged along with the peace organizations of the country in common initiatives. What FOR leaders acknowledge today is that this partnership is living a gap of mutual encouragement. Maybe the Living Letters have opened a window there for further contacts and increasing cooperation. The common dinner we had by the end of the day gave us a clear picture of the FOR's enthusiasm with the Living Letters visit and initiative.

To know more about FOR USA go to

Posted By: Marcelo on Sep 18, 2007 05:50AM