JESUS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: STORIES FROM CONGREGATIONS: Franklin Grove Church collaborates with Dixon congregation to celebrate the International Day of Peace

By Diana Verhulst

Franklin Grove (Ill.) Church of the Brethren honored the International Day of Peace through a special Sunday service and by giving away grant-funded, custom-made peace bookmarks and Dove-brand mini ice cream bars.

Peace Day this year was Tuesday, Sept. 21, and on that day members of the church were stationed at Casey’s General Store in Franklin Grove, on the Lincoln Highway, to give away ice cream and bookmarks featuring scriptures of peace and church contact information.

Dixon (Ill.) Church of the Brethren collaborated with Franklin Grove. Their giveaway was the same day at Oliver’s Corner Market in Dixon.

Thrivent provided grant funds for the events’ expenses. This year, the day had special meaning; church member and Dixon businessman Ken Novak, who died in July, had asked as one of his last wishes to the church that they do more to promote peace this year than ever before.

In addition, the Franklin Grove congregation held a special Peace Service on Sept. 19, which featured music and messages about nonviolence and the larger church’s overall work toward peace worldwide. Find the Peace Sunday sermon on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXeMdNYIJauYKVrSL2dVRxg/featured.)

Finally, the members planted lily-of-the-valley seeds to represent how disciples of Jesus spread among the nations in ancient times, and created a peace sign formation with pinwheels in the church’s front yard.

Franklin Grove Church of the Brethren established itself in 1845; Dixon Church of the Brethren opened its doors in 1908.

The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations. The 2021 theme for this year’s International Day of Peace was “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world.”

For more information, call lay pastor Diana Verhulst at 815-456-2422.

Above: Church members give away ice cream and peace bookmarks at Casey’s General Story in Franklin Grove. Below: A group picture at the church’s Peace Service. Photos courtesy of Diana Verhulst

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