Peace Pole Dedication at Annapolis Friends Meeting
September 21, 2007, 7:00-7:30 p.m.
Annapolis Friends Meeting has a very special peace pole. Several years ago before we had a meetinghouse, Caroline Martin used to hold meetings for worship in her home. Some years after she died, her home was demolished, but not before her grandson, Stewart, took a wooden beam from her home and offered to fashion it into a peace pole for us. So we have this beautiful heart pine pole, to which we have affixed plaques beseeching “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in eight different languages, and a little brass plate commemorating our founder, Caroline Martin.
We chose September 21 st for the dedication because it was the day of the annual United Nations International Day of Peace Vigil (IDPV). It turned out to be a beautiful, clear evening with a bright moon, near dusk -- and a spotlight shining on the peace pole made it look quite dramatic.
Sitting by the peace pole with her African drum, Jennifer DeLorge McKeown called people to the celebration, and as they arrived two of our children, Ellie and James Blaser, went around to offer each one a colorful peace sticker.
Our program began with a welcome to guests and brief overview by Phil Favero, followed by an explanation by Lee Lougee about the IDPV, which was going to follow the celebration. Elise Albert thanked the people who were responsible for making the pole and planting it – Stewart Weiss and Phil Caroom – and presented them with mini-peace poles. Martin Krafft, a Young Friend, was presented with a desktop pole engraved in Guarani, to honor his work last summer in the Amigos de las Americas program with a tribe of people in Paraguay who spoke this language.
Jean Christianson explained what a peace pole is, and the history of our own pole, after which a group of our children sang the “Song of Peace,” accompanied by Martha O'Hehir on guitar and Susan Dapkunas on viola.
Then representatives of various faith groups offered short prayers for peace from their spiritual tradition: Muslim (represented by Mohammed Talbi of the Islamic Society of Annapolis, Christian (represented by Mother Angela Shepherd of St. Phillip's Episcopal Church in Annapolis), Jewish (read by Miles Jordan, a Young Friend of our Meeting) and Native American (offered by Harold Saunders of our Earth Care Interest Group). Little Cameron Reid invited a bell to ring for a moment of silent worship in the tradition of Friends….
Joanna Mendelman presented a short reflection on her vision for peace. It was the familiar, beloved story of the Cherokee grandfather teaching his grandson about life, representing the fight inside each one of us by a good wolf and an evil wolf. As night began to fall, a beautiful classical piece was played by our violist, and in the end we all joined in singing “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” accompanied by viola and guitar.
Everyone then enjoyed a little socializing over a lovely table of refreshments. Some went inside to see a mini display of the “Eyes Wide Open” exhibit about the war in Iraq, and the silent peace vigil was beginning. May all of us open our hearts to the Divine gift of peace on earth.
For pictures of the event, click here