#258 – Dick Bernard: Planting Poles of Peace

Today was another stunningly beautiful Minnesota Fall day, a perfect day for – as the invitation stated – “a peace pole planting & dedication ceremony” at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Sunfish Lake MN. I took the drive over to the picturesque church. It is a place I have passed by often, but until today never actually entered.
There are hundreds of thousands of peace poles around the world in almost any kind of location. As the St. Anne’s program stated, “In planting peace poles, we are linking with people all over the world who have planted Peace Poles in the same spirit of peace.”
I gathered that the peace pole project at St. Anne’s was a creation of the youth of the Parish who did the fundraising for the project. Rather than a single pole, the decision was made to plant three poles in a specially constructed Peace Garden near the Church. The project took one and one-half years to complete, but in the end the children had raised more than enough money for the poles which speak “…”May Peace Prevail on Earth” in Arabic, Chinese, English, Greek, Hebrew, Hmong, Maya, Ojibwe, Paw Prints, Somali, Spanish and Swahili.” (Among the onlookers was a gentle dog, for whom the Paw Prints fit!)

The Peace Poles prior to planting.

I have been to numerous dedications of Peace Poles, Peace Sites and the like, and they share commonalities, though they are planned individually, often over an extended period. Each are unique and inspiring.
At St. Anne’s, the opening prayer was as follows:
“We gather here today as diverse expressions
of one loving mystery –
To celebrate,
to sing,
to accept differences,
to promote justice and peace.
To recreate the human community.
We gather to plant these peace poles as a sign of
our commitment to nurture and encourage the seeds of
peace already planted in our community and in the world.
As we plant these poles, we commit to:
seeking peace within ourselves and others,
promoting understanding,
celebrating diversity,
caring for our planet,
reaching out in service,
working for justice,
and creating, in this place,
a sanctuary where all are embraced.
We are called to peace.
Peace within and peace without
Peace before and peace behind
Peace on right and peace on left.
We are called to peace.
Peace with brother and with sister
Peace with neighbor and with stranger
Peace with friend and with foe.
We are called to peace.
Peace in work and in play
Peace in thought and deed
Peace in world and in action
We are called to peace
The gentle ritual continued with a Song of Peace, readings from different traditions about peace, and thence the planting of the three poles with members of the group, young and old, contributing earth to the holes in which the poles were planted.

Planting the Peace Poles at St. Anne's

There are many perfect ways to do Peace Poles and Peace Sites. St. Anne’s was one of those perfect ways.
More information and ideas about Peace Sites and Peace Poles and other Peace programs are accessible at the website of World Citizen.
Let There Be Peace On Earth” (one of today’s songs.)