|“SONG FOR PEACE” HIGHLIGHTS THE POWER OF PEACE
Hopeful Song of Healing Chosen to Highlight US Focus for DOV in 2004
“We survivors can be lonely souls. Our histories are personal, life-altering, wrenching,” says Bette Rod. “There is risk as we extend our voices, bodies, and psyches. We know as long as violence devastates, we cannot be completely at peace,” she added.
“Like ordinary people everywhere, we’re very much affected by violence—in our society and in our world,” states her husband, David. “Peace is very precious to us.”
Bette, a self-described “farm kid from Wisconsin,” has been writing songs for the past 15 years. Her CD Pieces gives musical expression to her experience as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. She and David have sung together at weddings, coffeehouses, Sunday morning worship services, and other occasions for more than 30 years. They are members of Christ the King Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Iowa City, Iowa.
Encouraged by the Rev. Deborah DeWinter, program executive for the US office of the World Council of Churches (WCC) to contribute a theme song for the 2004 Decade to Overcome Violence, Bette and David worked together to create “Song for Peace.”
For this song, Bette noted, “I wanted a melody and lyrics that would be received and understood by all people, whatever their history. Dave helped me with that. It’s his melody, his chorus—his way to offer tangible help to the ones who have suffered. His way to connect with me as together we created a song to inspire, to give hope, to bind together.”
The US DOV Committee and the Board of the US Conference for the WCC endorsed “Song for Peace” before this song premiered at the WCC's International Scholars gathering on April 2, 2004 hosted by the Presbyterian Church USA’s Peacekeeping Program in Louisville, Kentucky. After the ten international scholars were told the background behind this story, the Rev. (Calipay) Leng Lubang, a WCC scholar from the United Church of The Philippines, stated how they were inspired by Bette's experience as a survivor of violence. As a pastor theologian striving to give heart to her theology, she found that the calming influence of “Song for Peace” enabled her to tell her own personal story as a peacemaker on a deeper and more profound level.
On May 27, 2004, Bette and David's song was offered at “The Power and Promise of Peace,” an interfaith service of prayer and reconciliation honoring those who have died in the conflict in Iraq, which took place at the National City Christian Church in Washington, DC. It was also featured at the Ecumenical Service of Worship for the 216th General Assembly of the PCUSA on June 30th in Richmond, Virginia. Plans are underway to launch versions of this song in jazz and gospel arrangements at the Annual Meeting of the United States Conference for the World Council of Churches, which will be held October 5-6, 2004 in Atlanta, Georgia. The song, which can be downloaded for non-commercial use from the DOV website www.overcomingviolence.org, will also be translated into Spanish, French, German and Chinese.
The US Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace (2001-2010) aims to address issues of violence in all its forms on all levels of society including violence against children and women, militarism, security, gang violence, and structural violence. For regular updates regarding the Annual Meeting of the United States Conference for the World Council of Churches where Bette and David Rod will personally introduce “Song for Peace,” log on to www.wcc-usa.org, www.overcomingviolence.org, or call the US Office for the WCC at: 1-888-212-2920.
Bette and David Rod