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Senior biochemistry major Ruthie Lewis studies in the new Peace Garden, which features a peace pole.

Peace Pole Dedication Planned

September 18, 2013

A peace pole will be dedicated during the annual Virginia Cottage ice cream social.

The event is 3 – 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20, at Virginia Cottage. The dedication ceremony begins at 4 p.m.

Earlham’s peace pole is a joint project of the Newlin Center for Quaker Thought and Practice and the Office of Religious Life, both of which are housed in Virginia Cottage.

“Working toward peace in the world is one of our main motives for educating our students and community,” says Kelly Burk, director of the Office of Religious Life. “This is a visible sign to the campus of what we do in the building and what our work is.”

The pole has four sides, and each side says “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in two languages, including English, Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, Japanese, Tibetan, Spanish and Swahili.

“We consulted the religion department to tie the languages represented to religious diversity,” says Burk. “We hope to have someone from each of the religious traditions say a prayer for peace during the dedication.”

Earlham’s peace pole is situated just outside the Virginia Cottage in a newly planted Peace Garden, complete with a bench and wind chimes.

“We wanted to create an inviting space for people to reflect,” says Trish Eckert, director of the Newlin Center for Quaker Thought and Practice.

More than 200,000 peace poles exist in in 180 countries. The first peace pole is believed to have been made in 1955 in Japan by Masahisa Goi in response to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. The Peace Pole Project began in 1985 and has helped to spread the word and increase the popularity of peace poles.

Virginia Cottage, the former home of Virginia and Elton Trueblood, offers a tranquil space on campus that encourages reflection and spiritual renewal.

The ice cream social and dedication are part of Earlham’s yearlong initiative promoting interfaith relations.

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