“Blessed are the peacemakers” – a youth group session plan to prepare for Peace Sunday

I have done this session with Encounter, my 10-13 year olds. They are a small group who know each other well, are very open with each other and me, and have a keen sense of justice. We meet once a fortnight for an hour and a half, of which this plan covered the last hour.

Starter: word association – ask each person to say the first thing that comes into their head when they hear the word “peace”.

Discussion: put on the table/floor a selection of quotes about peace, some scriptural, others from peace activists, theologians, philosophers, etc. Invite comment: “which do you feel draw to?”, “are there any you disagree with?”, etc. Allow discussion to move freely for 10 mins or so. Draw links where possible with ‘word association’ responses.

Reflection: move to another area where you have marked out on the floor three squares inside each other:

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Our peace diagram before…

Invite everyone to stand in the outer square. Explain that here we are thinking about “Peace in the world”. Move to the next square in, which is “Peace in relationships” and finally the inner square, which is “Peace within ourselves”. Check that everyone has understood what is meant my each of these phrases.

Provide post-it notes and pens, and ask the young people to write/draw their thoughts/ideas/images/prayers about peace and stick them to the diagram on the floor. Encourage them to read each other’s ideas and discuss them together as they go along.

...and after.

…and after.

Response: Introduce (if you have not already done so) the phrase “blessed are the peacemakers”. Ask for and discuss examples of situations where there is no peace, and what the actions of a peacemaker could be in those situations.

Invite the young people to find a quiet space in which to reflect on how they can be a peacmeaker. Ask them to write and/or draw a “peace pledge” – one or more things they are pledging to do in order to be a peacemaker. Add these to a noticeboard to create a display. This could be added to later by other groups in the church.

Display of peace pledges.

Display of peace pledges.

Prayer: Invite the young people to pray for God’s help and guidance in beng peacemakers, and for places and situations where there is no peace. This could be a time of open prayer or something more structured.

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