Two activities planned on International Day of Peace

News Photo by Diane Speer This is one of two Peace Poles erected by the Alpena Rotary Club in 2012 on Rotary Island. The club will hold a short ceremony there at 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 21 in recognition of the United Nations International Day of Peace.

The 12th annual 30 Days of Peace observance in Alpena continues next week and includes two events scheduled for Sept. 21 on the United Nations International Day of Peace. A blessing of the gardens at the Alpena Senior Citizens Center will take place at noon, followed by a recognition of Peace Poles on Rotary Island at 12:30 p.m.

The Senior Center installed a handpainted Peace Pole last year created by staff member BJ Sander. Numerous gardens also have been put in around the facility, where the community always is welcome to stop by and help tend them. Earlier this year, a greenhouse was erected behind the center. Many of the vegetables and herbs grown on site will be used for meals prepared for seniors.

Alpena Rotary Club installed two Peace Poles on Rotary Island in 2012.

“The poles are a gathering spot to promote peace,” said Rotary Club President Bob Barrigar. “They contain the message, ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth,’ in multiple languages on every side. It’s important for every culture and every nation to make that prayer.”

Barrigar said peace needs to be a priority globally.

“Conflicts across the world displace millions of people,” he said. “Ninety percent of the deaths in conflict areas are civilians, with half of those being children, so our goal should be a unification of the world.”

Barrigar also said putting in the Peace Poles on the island falls in line with Rotary’s goals of fostering togetherness in the community. In addition to many local accomplishments, the club also participates globally in the Rotary International goals of eradicating polio worldwide and in helping to improve water sources for people in Third World countries.

Earlier in the week, a service on Reflections of Christ’s Peace will take place Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Alpena Community of Christ Church. The service will feature music, stories and scripture of how faithful people reflect Christ’s peace in their daily lives.

Pastor Gary Villeneuve from Community of Christ and Minister Alison Woods of Ossineke have teamed up to present this experience. Notable community leaders, including Larry Thompson of Alpena Community College, will share personal testimonies regarding peace.

Also coming up is a Sacred Creation Taize Service to be held Sept. 23 at 3:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church. The meaningful, non-denominational service has been an annual event on the 30 Days of Peace calendar and is based off practices established at an ecumenical Taize community formed in1940 in France.

This year’s Taize service in Alpena will reflect the overall theme of “Heal the Earth and Save a Life.” It will include songs that lead to reflection, prayers and readings.

“Globally stopping the violence toward all creation is a fundamental goal of peacemaking,” said Carol Skiba, 30 Days of Peace coordinator. “Throughout the service we will be thanking the creator for our beautiful Earth and praying for its protection.”

Upcoming events include:

∫ Sept. 15 – Who is My Neighbor?, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m., APlex

∫ Sept. 16 – Movie screening, “Before the Flood,” 3 p.m., Grace Lutheran Church

∫ Sept. 17 – Reflections of Christ’s Peace, 7 p.m., Alpena Community of Christ Church

∫ Sept. 19 – Peace Liturgy, noon, Trinity Episcopal Church

∫ Sept. 21 – Alpena Senior Center, blessing of gardens, 12:30 p.m.

∫ Sept. 21 – Peace Pole ceremony, 12:30 p.m., Alpena Rotary Park

∫ Sept. 23 – Sacred Creation Taize Service, 3:30 p.m., First United Methodist Church