The Silent Minute

STAR OF HOPE: Global Agenda for a Peaceful Future    
By John McConnell: 90 year old founder of Earth Day (
Faced with a growing global danger of total catastrophe, we need a worldwide agenda that will enable us to continue the human adventure. The original Earth Day (March 21, 1970) followed two events I was responsible for -- the global Minute for Peace (December 2nd 1963) and my Star of Hope Satellite proposal which obtained front page attention around the world in 1957. Let's go back to the Star of Hope idea. It provides astonishing ideas that point the way to peace on our planet. HOPE stands for Help Our Planet Earth and Help Other People Everywhere. 

To peaceful progress on Planet Earth.

In October 1957 I obtained global attention for an editorial in my weekly North Carolina "Toe Valley View" newspaper. It urged that we launch a Satellite that would have a bright flashing light that would appear every night and be seen globally as a bright Star of Hope for all humanity. Sputnik, the first Satellite, had just been launched on October 4th. None of the media seemed to note that this was the "Feast Day of St. Francis." And launched by the then Godless USSR! (The person who chose the date must have been a secret Christian.)

My own study and prayer life led to the conviction that we needed a common purpose that would appeal to people of all creeds and cultures - and a way to get attention for it. We needed something that would end history's terrible record of war and injustice. When we set out to explore Space, we discovered Earth. Now we know we are one human family and have only one Earth. But our addiction to war and our greed has almost ruined planet Earth and the future of its people. At the same time there is a growing recognition that we must change.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury...pardon,
Where there is doubt... faith,
Where there is despair... hope,
Where there is darkness... light,
And where there is sadness... joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

The Prayer of St. Francis appeals to people of every creed and culture and aids the Earth Day goal of Peace, Justice and the Care of Earth. The Space Program should plan now to launch a Star of Hope Satellite on October 4th 2007. This will be the 50th anniversary of our venture into Space. This can obtain global attention for the wonderful way to global peace that St. Francis provided -- and aid all sincere efforts for peace.                               

In Today's global crisis, are we approaching the doom of civilization or a new beginning for our planet? Can we get rid of our addiction to war and the lust for money by investing in devilish weapons and using them to kill the enemies we have created by our evil control of their resources?


It is imperative the whole human family mobilize for a moral equivalent of the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb. Every thinking individual who receives this message is urged to quickly choose what they will do. Think about it, talk about it -- and then act. Be aware that today global institutions induce individuals to accept as truth their propaganda and keep them from thinking for themselves. Don't let powerful people in political and social institutions do your thinking for you. Think for yourself. You know the way to a better future is for everyone to follow the golden rule -- love of neighbor and nature. 

The Earth Trustee idea of the original Earth Day (March 21st 1970) provides the key: Every individual and institution must now seek to eliminate pollution, poverty. injustice and war by Earth Trustee choices in ecology, economics and ethics.  Thousands of group projects are already helping people and planet. Their impact can increase dramatically by uniting in a global Earth Trustee Campaign with one common cause -- peaceful progress on Planet Earth.

Until now, Earth Caretakers have been a sad minority. The most powerful institutions (global corporations and rich governments) have usually put financial profit first. The resulting social and environmental damage is disastrous. But Earth Trustee vision and action can change that. It provides a way for you to tap the best in your thinking and in your faith.

Press, Radio, TV and Internet play a vital role. Actions, good or bad, begin in the mind. Those able to command media attention have a special obligation to speak out about the crisis and its solution -- the Earth Trustee vision and agenda. (See:

Here is an opportunity for ALL world leaders to call for prayer and heartfelt dedication to ending our addiction to war and to aiding peaceful resolution of conflict. The time and money devoted to war can then be replaced by efforts for the care of Earth. We must now think and act as Trustees of Earth. 

Mass media has a sacred obligation as the eyes and ears of the public to:
• Feature solutions as well as problems.
• Headline cases of peaceful progress in the human adventure that replace hate, fear, greed and lust.
• Give recognition and attention to people and projects that eliminate pollution and poverty and foster peace, justice and the care of Earth.

With the media's cooperation St. Francis Day on October 4th and Earth Day - on nature's historic annual event - the March Equinox, will provide world wide participation by people of every creed and culture. This will inspire actions for Earth's rejuvenation in this new millennium -- with peace, justice and prosperity for all.

John McConnell -- 90 year old founder of Earth Day
4924 E. Kentucky Circle, Denver, CO 80246 •

McConnell Family History

John Saunders McConnell, Sr. (Evangelist J. S. McConnell) was my father. He was born in Seattle, Washington January 9,1892 (died in Ahwahnee, California in 1966). His father was Rev.T. W. McConnell and when I was small, Grandpa told about his going to Oregon in a Covered Wagon and how the Indians they met did not attack them because he prayed and trusted God. 

When I was a teenager I heard many stories about how we were related to Daniel Boone and the pioneer spirit was in our blood. When I was about ten years old we were living outside of San Diego. I was walking down a dirt road and picked up a piece of paper which had a poem on it. It said,

"Lord give me the strength of the pioneer
and the faith of his hardy soul. 
Provide me with courage to persevere,
make me fight till I reach my goal. 

I want to be known as a man who wins,
as a fellow with nerve and pluck,
Who finishes everything he begins
And as one who can whip his luck." 

I still remember the poem and feel it contributed to my drive and persistence. On March 22nd 2005, I became 90 years old. I hope you who are younger will pick up the ball (the Earth Trustee idea) and help turn the global crisis into a new beginning for the whole human family.
Help make the March 20, 2006 Earth Day a global Turn Toward Harmony on our planet. The human family can then launch the Star of Hope Satellite on St. Francis Day - October 4th, 2007 - celebrating life on our wonderful planet. • Star of


Reply from: peter bentley <>

Sir McConell - G'day from the Land of OZ!
Thank you so much for your communication. Congratulations on ALL your work - you are a living Legend! Just remember if you treat your body GOOD, you stiil have potential for another 30+ years - a quarter of your life still to come man!!
Your wonderful E-mail - the contents - are well known. There is little time left for further 'thinking', we must ACT wisely NOW. Since the age of 9 when I used to put in my scrapbook, various cuttings from Time & Newsweek re. Armaments (who had what & how many, etc) & other world problems, I have been experiencing & observing life. I am about to embark on my 3rd world journey in 3 years - No, I am not well heeled with $, I use my VISA & 'hope' & trust that the financial drag will sooner than later be resolved. I am impatient now with what I call intellectual masturbation.
Question: Did you know & meet Laursen Vig of Hesbjerg Peace Research College in Denmark??
We look forward to your continued urgent calls for appropriate action - we need to wake people & governments up - hopefully Vig's suggestion that maybe only a 3rd World War can do that trick will not be the catalyst.
Thank you Sir.
Walk Good ..... with Love & in Peace.
PS.: This is for William Thompson: Thanks for your call man - Yes, hopefully we will talk soon, & I hope we can meet in May/June.


From: John Courtneidge <>
Dear friends

I'd like to make a comment on this: one that may be somewhat prickly, but with (I hope) a strongly positive suggestion. Some will know that I worked at Peace News for a few years and that I was a Management Group Member ('trustee') of the Network for Peace (the UK peace federal for national and local peace groups). More-over, as a Quaker, my attention to the Quaker Peace Testimony is, I hope, pretty much continuous. However . . .

Here's the prickly bit.
I'm going to suggest that peace is a consequence of equality rather than vice-versa. And, therefore, work and calls to create equality (equal-ness of income and the 'power' to contribute) are ordinate in creating global and local peace.
I'll end by saying that I could add a post-script of sorts in elaboration of that, but, for this part, let me make that (hopefully) positive suggestion.

I'm suggesting that all pro-peace organisations deliberately re-format and (even) re-register them-selves as community service co-operatives (or what-ever adjectivised co-operative seems most appropriate to the participants).
If one looks at the Statement on the Co-operative Identity (see eg the papers section at for a copy of it), then it is clear that a co-operative (if it is faithful to that Statement) is (or should be) an inherently peace-making, peace-be-ing corporate identity.

More-over, if the participants in each co-op were to have a 'co-operative consciousness' (see google - also google, perhaps, 'consciousness of the common good'), then a global consciousness of peace becomes a networked reality (I'd hope!).

In peace, for love



Reply from: peter bentley <>

Dear John & Mary, & all on the above List,
G'day Mates! Good on you - your feedback is much appreciated - let's form a "World Peace Co-op"
Hmmmmm ..... well, come to think of it - Why not? Maybe we could concentrate on getting funding to assist other groups on the way ..... do you know of any experts in the field - who is versed with this matter?

The only person I know who could have some suggestions is an old friend, Paul Martin, the Executive Editor of the National Geographic 'Traveler' - he has been receiving the current round of E-mails. I keep wondering, especially during my walks in the World Heritage National Parks adjoining MAYA or a canoe on the beautiful Tweed River on our doorstep .....And this is in keeping with the Report & decisions from WUPED re. the recent Global Symposium in Lucknow, India -

It seems the time is well nigh drawing near when we have to, after due consideration, launch a real thrust to mobilize the public opinion of the people of the World re. our serious problems. Governments alone cannot do it, moreover it really needs a combined approach: To reverse & correct certain negative trends.

It will be necessary, I feel, to garner the support or act as catalysts in motivating (further) the likes of Geldhof, Baez, Sting, Hilton, the richest man in the World (Bill Gates), Nobel Peace Prize Winners, etc.

Just thinking down the road a little: Who has the time to start work on this, & from where? WUPED, & others have already, in their particular ways, started on such an effort - but more, much more effort is urgently needed. Maybe we could have several spots around the Globe specifically cooperating on the project & in harmony with the World Peace Co-op. We can put Hesbjerg Peace Research College's interest in such a project 'into the hat'. I have a feeling that there would be several groups offering their commitment ..... great, world management resulting from pluralism!

With respect.
Peter. wrote:

Iran and Star of Hope 
By Earth Day Founder, John McConnell

The media hype about Iran is unfair and dangerous. I went ot Iran in 1980 to try and get the hostages returned. I based my arguments on the fact that Iran observes their New Year (Noruz) on the same day as Earth Day - and on that day call attention to the actions that foster peace and understanding. I did not get the hostages back, but fostered the understanding that led to their return.

Following is an example of the result.
When media accent the positive we will have a great global future.

Iran Press Release - Mar. 20, 1999
Statement by H.E. Mr. Hadi Nejad Hosseinian,
Ambassador & Permanent Representative of the
Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in the Earth Day Ceremony at the United Nations Headquarters, New York at the moment of Equinox, 8:46 P.M. EST, March 20, 1999

Dear friends, Earth Trustees, Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a privilege and an honour to have the opportunity to say a few words in this small gathering which has a big and global agenda. I would like to share with you the fact that since time immemorial Iranians have celebrated this day at the exact moment of Equinox, as the beginning of Iranian New Year and of the miraculous rebirth of life and the earth. More than seventeen other nations in Central and West Asia also do the same with special emphasis on thanksgiving, conciliation and extending love and friendship to all humanity, all creatures and to the earth that sustains the balance.

On behalf of the Iranian people, I wish to congratulate all Earth Trustees for their noble efforts, and to confirm our commitment to becoming real Earth Trustees and working hard together to make choices in environment, politics and economics that are ethical and provide for a sustainable future for the whole human family on earth.

In the threshold of the third millennium, celebration of the "Earth Day" finds a renewed meaning and importance. The need for a new and global understanding of the earth's fragility and the man's destructive power and habit is all the more present. "Earth Day" is filled with symbolism for all civilizations. They signify the care for the earth and fostering peace and prosperity for all as the common denominators of civilizations.

The designation by the United Nations of the year 2001 as the year of Dialogue Among Civilizations, as proposed by President Khatami of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is an enabling vehicle for constituents of all civilizations to engage in an enlightened dialogue to enrich each other on responsible citizenship of the planet while preserving each civilization's uniqueness.

Let us hope that the new millennium will be marked by a greater understanding for peace, justice and harmony among the family of man on earth and by living in harmony with the planet and all that it nurtures. 



Reply from: peter bentley <>

Thanks again John - we'll do what we can. Why do you keep reminding us of your age - does 90 have a special meaning for you ..... or generally? For example, Confucius said something about ..... that when you reach 60 you are finally becoming Mature, at 70 you are starting to learn about Wisdom (or are Wise?).
Anyway, no need to mention your age any longer - we know! Best, Peter. (Lana Yang) writes

Congratulations to the age 90. Most of my good friends are 85 or more..
It is a pleasure to learn from the older and wiser.
Confucius said, "When a man reaches age 70 he has reached the age of Freedom, that is, he is so mature and wise that he is able to do whatever he wishes and yet does not go out of line."
Are you the one living in O'dense? I have been there twice.
Are you coming to the UN for the Earth Day? I would be pleased to meet you and help find a place for you to stay if I can.
Best regards from Philadelphia,
Lana Yang
Main Representative to the United Nations