A church convocation here on peacemaking got some unscheduled practice in the art last night when demonstrators disrupted the presentation of a peace award to President Carter.
The president was not present to receive the award from the First Baptist Church's Peacemakers group, but sent Sam Brown, director of ACTION, and a man not inacquainted with disruptions during his own involvement in anti-Vietnam War protests.
The demonstrators, who identified themselves with the militantly antiwar Atlantic Life Community, had passed out leafltes before the servide, protesting the award to the president, which honored his Middle East peace efforts.
When the award presentation began, a young woman in the audience stood up, said a few words that could not be heard by most of the congregation, and then left the sanctuary along with seven or eight others.
The service continued uninterrupted for a few moments, but when Brown began to speak, more than a dozen men and women scattered throughout the sanctury stood and set off yellow plastic electronic noisemakers.
Decaons and ushers, who only moments before were listening to a sermon by their pastor, the Rev. Charles Trentham on "Biblical Imperatives for Peacemaking," leapt into action. Several of the demonstrators were wrestled to the pew and in some cases dragged bodily from the sanctuary by the white-haired ushers.
But as soon as one protester was silenced another would pop up in another part of the church.
"I am gravely disappointed that my brothers and sisters do not feel it is possible to work cooperatively for peace." Brown remarked from the pulpit.
Meanwhile the group's spokesman, Mitch Snyder, who had stationed himself in a pew near the front of the church, had begun his own sermon and was outshoting Brown.
Brown waved off a group of ushers who were attempting to remove Snyder bodily, and Synder continued to talk.
"Is this the way to make peace in the world?" Brown challenged from the pulpit. "We have heard you; I now have a right to speak the truth as I see it."
Synder shouted back: "We're here because we're trying our best to save lives and reduce suffering."
"Are you the only ones with the answer?" Brown asked. "That's how wars happen - when people think they have the absolute answer."
Eventually, Snyder left the church voluntarily, but not before tossing his noisemaker in the air, hitting a worshiper on the head. He apologized.
Although police had been called there were no arrests. The peace conference continues today.