Architects of a New Dawn

We’d like to show the side of the world you don’t normally see on television.

About Us
This non-denominational organization was founded by Father Jack Nelson, of the Church of the Holy Transfiguration of Christ-on-the-Mount, in Woodstock, New York, United States. The church, in the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1891. We promote constructive dialogue and non-violent action around the world in the profound hope that we may achieve world-wide peace in our time, and for future generations.

We are for Peace; we are against no one. We are not protesting against anyone or any thing. We invite people from all walks of life, be they liberal, conservative, rich, poor, Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, atheist or agnostic, etc., to join with us. We believe in ending suffering, hunger, disease, strife; in promoting education, health care, and general well-being for all people. The simple act of people joining together in walking for peace will make a powerful statement to the world. Join with us in our quest for peace.

What we believe:

We believe that peace can only realized through peace. Accusations, desire for retribution, etc., no matter how justified we and others may perceive them to be, can only cause further strife and animosity. We do not seek to depose any rulers, governments, or political parties; we seek only to open all hearts and minds to the peace and love which dwells within.

We wish peace to come even to terrorists, dictators, warlords, and pirates, and to all who wage war or thirst for revenge, for we understand that the desire for peace resides in their hearts, too; they are simply and tragically mistaken—they believe that the imposition of their methods will bring peace.

If history teaches us anything, it teaches us that imposing one group’s will upon another can never bring peace; it never has.*

By working together to end hunger and disease, to further economic development and education, by acting as responsible stewards of our natural resources, and by nurturing love and spirituality, we can bring peace to the world.

Let us then wage peace.

Mission Statement
“In our ever-changing world of incredible natural wonders and seemingly timeless beauty, we all have been given a chance to share in the splendor of vast physical and spiritual realms. We are all here as caregivers to this place we call home, and it remains our joy to continue in the spirit of cooperation with all living things. And in this spirit, we invite every person to participate in a planet-wide initiative, promoting a renewable, sustainable consciousness of peace. Let us all walk in peace, as one unified force for a more tranquil planet.”

—Father Jack Nelson, Woodstock Council for World Peace

About our first Walk for Peace

Our first successful walk was a two-day gathering and celebration to advance the causes of peace and love; August 8 and 9, 2009, in Woodstock, NY, in homage to the fortieth anniversary of the original Woodstock Festival. On these two days, we asked communities around the world to join with us in making the statement that we, all the people of the world, can no longer tolerate war or the ravages of war; that we can no longer bear the physical and economic injustices which are both the causes and the results of war, from the Middle-East to Sri Lanka to Darfur to Sudan, Somalia, the Amazon, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan—every place where man causes harm to other men, women, and children.

We are committed to the same principles of non-violent protest embraced by Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King, and we likewise embrace the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We are seeking participation from other like-minded people in communities throughout the world. We invite all of you to join us in Woodstock; if you are unable to, we are asking that you organize a walk for peace, on one or both of these days, in your town or city; it can be as simple as a one-mile walk with as few as ten people, or as complex as a thousands-strong walk with concerts, speeches, and other entertainments.

We will regularly post here the names and contact information of participating towns, cities, and organizers in order to help facilitate your efforts, and we will be issuing press releases regularly to numerous media outlets to obtain media exposure. We invite you to post links and comments on this site.

We stress that our mission doesn’t end here; it is an ongoing effort; we will organize and help facilitate more walks for peace, and other efforts to promote world peace in the future, and we invite your continuing participation.

Why August 8 and 9?
For two reasons. First, as you may or may not be aware, that week marked the 64th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima (August 6th, 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945). We feel that a walk and celebration for peace on this anniversary will be a fitting memorial to the victims of those bombings, and a reminder to us all that we never again want to witness the horror of nuclear devastation.

The second reason is that while we also wish to honor the spirit of peace and love that “Woodstock” brings to mind, there are many events being held in the area on the following weekend, the actual anniversary of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, and we do not wish to steal thunder from these events, nor undermine the effort that has been made to produce them; after all, many of these events are being produced by our friends and neighbors.

Why do you insist on neutrality?
Because we are only for peace, we don’t believe in the aggressor-victim model; that sort of thinking results in never-ending spirals of war. It is always easy to place blame; taking responsibility is much harder, but we believe in taking responsibility for peace. We could write paragraph after paragraph trying to explain our position, but it has been stated more eloquently than any attempt we might make by the prince in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, act 5, scene 3:
“…all are punished.”

These three simple words contain the entire moral of the play; for all are punished; the Montagues and Capulets have lost a son and daughter, and the Prince has lost his kinsmen Paris, Mercutio and Tybalt, and we may rightly infer that all are punished because all are equally culpable.

When conflicts are viewed in this light, it no longer makes sense to take sides; it becomes clear that advocating for one side over another in any conflict can only result in more violence and bloodshed. The only way to peace is through peace; this powerful approach cannot be resisted. If we all demand peace from our leaders, we will have peace; as John and Yoko put it:
“War is over (if you want it).”

How we will make a difference:

* By building awareness of the futility of conflict and war by holding walks for peace, distributing literature at these and other events, and by maintaining a web presence, in order to build a large grassroots organization
* By stressing our commonality and the universal desire for peace and well-being
* By supporting those organizations whose efforts are most effective in promoting and providing education, clean water, housing, sustainable agriculture, medical care, and economic development
* Through letter-writing campaigns to the leaders of all countries that emphasize the universal desire for peace

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