Adventist Pastor Organises Inaugural Peace Vigil Uniting People From All Walks of Life

Adventist Pastor Organises Inaugural Peace Vigil Uniting People From All Walks of Life

Pluscarden AbbeySM Communications

We all desire a world that is free from terrorism, bigotry, conflict, and violence. We have all envisioned nations living in peace and harmony with each other. However, the state-of-the-art destructive weaponry that exists now can affect any part of the planet. Our world has already witnessed numerous wars, acts of terrorism, and acts of violence. The fact that all of the nations' lethal weapons put together can destroy civilisation as a whole is a grim reality if they choose not to put aside their differences and live in peace. People still shudder at the prospect of experiencing the immense havoc and trauma that the two previous world wars inflicted on humanity.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 (ESV) “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”

On the serene morning of the 25th of June, the historic Pluscarden Abbey in Moray hosted a Peace Vigil that brought together over 30 members of the community, representing various faith traditions and backgrounds. The event, initiated by Pr Wilfred Masih, the Pastor of the local Seventh-day Adventist Church, aimed to promote unity and reflection in a world that is so often fraught with division and discord.

The Peace Vigil was a response to the increasing polarisation seen globally. The call for a gathering that transcended religious and cultural boundaries was met with enthusiasm from the local community and beyond including Dr Maureen Sier, the Director of Interfaith Scotland.  Invitations were extended widely, encouraging participation from all walks of life.

The morning began with attendees gathering outside the abbey, surrounded by its tranquil natural beauty. The atmosphere was one of anticipation and a shared sense of purpose. Pr Masih welcomed everyone, emphasising the importance of unity and understanding in these challenging times when our world is fragmented and divided.

Following the brief welcome, participants were led into the abbey to light a candle each. This simple yet profound act symbolised the light each person can bring into the world through peace and understanding. As the candles were lit, it created a warm and inviting ambiance that set the tone for the silent prayer and reflection that followed.

The period of silent prayer and reflection was the heart of the vigil. Participants sat in quiet contemplation, reflecting on the themes of peace and unity in war torn parts of the world, and the ways they could contribute to fostering these ideals in their own lives. The silence, punctuated only by the occasional entrance of a person to the prayer chapel, provided a stark contrast to the often noisy and hectic world outside the abbey walls.

After the designated time for silent reflection, the group transitioned to a more social part of the event. At this time everyone was given the opportunity to talk and connect with each other as they shared their thoughts and experiences. This time of fellowship was marked by a real sense of friendship, trust, and mutual respect, as people from different faith traditions and backgrounds found common ground in their shared desire for peace.

The feedback from those who attended was overwhelmingly positive. Many who came expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to participate in such a meaningful event. Some noted how the vigil had provided a much-needed space for reflection and connection, while others appreciated the chance to meet people from different walks of life in a spirit of unity and understanding.

One attendee shared her thoughts: "In a world that often feels divided, it was a beautiful reminder of what we can achieve when we come together. The silence was powerful, and the conversations afterwards were incredibly enriching. I truly hope this becomes an annual tradition."

Pr Masih, reflecting on the morning, expressed his gratitude and optimism for the future. “The turnout and the spirit of the vigil were beyond what I had hoped for. It is clear that there is a deep yearning for peace and unity among us. We came together not just as individuals of diverse faiths and backgrounds, but as a community united in our desire for peace.” 

As the vigil drew to a close, the candles continued to flicker softly, symbolising the enduring light of peace and hope that each participant carried with them. The first such Peace Vigil at Pluscarden Abbey had succeeded in its mission to unite a diverse group of people in silent reflection and active dialogue, laying the groundwork for a tradition that promises to inspire and uplift the community in the time to come.