Swords Into Plowshares | Sojourners

Swords Into Plowshares

The Peace and Justice Revival, the worship service which launched this year's witness against the Air Force Association's weapons exhibition, known as the "arms bazaar," opened with a stirring call to worship by Rev. Ernest Gibson, executive director of the Washington Council of Churches. The approximately 1,000 people who had gathered in the orange glow of evening responded by singing, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God."

The service, a combined effort of Washington's predominantly black Council of Churches and Sojourners, represented a fresh commitment on the part of churches across the city to work together for peace and the justice that is the foundation of peace. The choir of First Rising Mt. Zion Baptist Church led the singing, joined by a soloist from the New Bethel Church of God in Christ. Scripture readings and prayers were offered by pastors and members of the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, and other local church leaders. Rev. Gibson and Jim Wallis preached consecutive sermons in the last rays of the late summer sun, and the congregation rose to sing the final song, "We Shall Overcome."

During the days following the Peace and Justice Revival service, the energies of concerned Christians focused on maintaining a witness against the nuclear weapons being displayed by arms manufacturers, who were trying to lure contracts from the military inside the Sheraton Washington Hotel. Leaflets were distributed and signs held on weekdays as arms bazaar participants came and went and people passed the hotel on their way to and from work or shopping or other errands. The days closed with worship services' held in front of the hotel.

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