By Karen Vance
On Monday, thousands of people in Greater Cincinnati will try their hands at promoting peace.
From 2 to 2:03 p.m., religious, government and community leaders are asking people to take "Three Minutes for Peace" and show some gesture of peace with the people around you - such as a handshake, a nod of the head, a smile or a word of encouragement.
"Several ministerial groups got together and said, 'Why not do an activity that's not an event, asking people to just take a moment and be nice to each other,'" said Charles Wallner, a spokesman for the project.
The project has been organized by the Faith Community Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, Transformation Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky and the Council of Christian Communions of Greater Cincinnati, but since its inception more than 70 groups and churches have signed on to spread the word. More than 10,000 fliers and bulletins have been distributed talking about the three minutes of peace.
"It's a wonderful way to begin the new year," said Sister Mary Gallagher, a pastoral administrator at the Church of the Holy Name in Clifton, which will have an announcement about the project in its bulletin and during church Sunday.
"We need to take these three minutes and focus and center onto a real purpose and a real goal - peace."
Wallner said the success of the day, which has been declared Community Day by Mayor Charles Luken, might not be easy to measure.
"It will just happen and we may not ever know the results, but that's how we wanted it - to be quiet and personal," he said.
SS. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Middletown will observe the Feast of the Epiphany at noon Sunday to commemorate the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the Jordan River.
During the outdoor service, Father Christos Christakis will throw a cross into Wade Lake. Then young men will dive into the cold waters to retrieve the cross. The one who gets it is formally blessed by Christakis for a year of special blessings.
The service starts at noon at Wade Lake, 4700 Riverview Ave., Middletown. For information, call the church at 422-2312.
Merged churches celebrate
Plymouth Congregational Church, founded in 1866, and Price Hill Baptist Church, founded in 1899, will have their first official service together as a merged church at 10:45 a.m. Sunday.
The Plymouth Church, at Glenway Avenue and Quebec Road, experienced a gradual decline in membership in recent years, as well as increased building maintenance costs.
As a result, it decided to merge with Price Hill Baptist.
The Rev. Karen Helton, pastor of the Price Hill church, located at 4431 Glenway Ave., will serve as full-time pastor of the merged congregation, and Dr. Gene Grant, former pastor at Plymouth, will be part-time pastor and counselor.
The stained-glass windows from Plymouth Church will be installed at Price Hill Baptist.
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