It funds and dedicates peace poles at facilities to serve as visual reminders of harmony and respect

BARBARA SHERMAN - A good-sized crowd gathered at the Marjorie Stewart Community/Senior Center on April 14 to dedicate another peace pole provided by the Sherwood Rotary Club.Peace poles are sprouting up around Sherwood, and each one is unique, with "May peace prevail on Earth" appearing in four different languages chosen by the facilities where they are sited.

One of the peace poles was dedicated at the Marjorie Stewart Community/Senior Center on April 14 in a ceremony led by Thressa Caulkins, center director, and Karen Strickland with the Rotary Club's Peace Committee. The pole features English, Spanish, Japanese and sign language as its four languages.

"We'd like to thank the senior center for their partnership and phenomenal support of Rotary, not only for establishing this peace pole but also for hosting our club meetings every Friday morning as well as countless other community service activities," Strickland said at the ceremony.

"Because the senior center is such a vital gathering place for our community, it is an ideal location for creating awareness of our commitment to peace… The pole will serve as a visual reminder for people to think, speak and act in ways that promote harmony, respect, love and understanding."

The Rotary Club took on the peace pole project in the fall of 2015 after learning about the peace initiative at the Rotary District Conference, and the first peace pole was dedicated at the YMCA in September 2016.

According to Strickland, the senior center peace pole was the seventh one in Sherwood planted by Rotary.

"Sherwood Rotary is a Peace Builder Club in Rotary District 5100, which has a goal of establishing 100 new peace poles in Oregon and Washington through funding by the Jubitz Family Foundation," Strickland said. "This pole at the senior center represents one more towards that goal and our overall mission of promoting world peace and understanding."

Caulkins added, "On behalf of the Marjorie Stewart Community/Senior Center, we are honored to be gifted with this pole. And thanks to the city's public works department for installing it."

Caulkins described how the four languages were chosen and invited all the assembled guest to say together, "May peace prevail on Earth."

According to Wendy Wells, Sherwood Rotary service chair, the club will provide poles to locations who wish to partner with the Rotary Club of Sherwood in offering peace programming and education to the community.

"Our club was awarded a grant from the Sherwood Rotary Foundation to fund this year's peace programs and poles, which was supplemented by Jubitz Family Foundation money for the peace pole project," Wells said. "Our club hopes to be awarded a grant for the coming year to support peace programming, including purchasing peace poles."

Peace poles are intended to be a visual reminder for people to think, speak and act in ways that promote harmony, peace and reconciliation, according to Wells.

The Peace Pole Project was founded in 1975 in Japan by Masahisa Goi, author of the Universal Message and Prayer, May Peace Prevail on Earth, and founder of the World Peace Prayer Society. The official Peace Pole Project is located at the World Peace Sanctuary in Wassaic, N.Y., which is the international headquarters of the World Peace Prayer Society. An estimated 200,000 peace poles have been planted in 180 countries, and the number is growing.

"Sherwood Rotary hopes our poles will invite reflection on how we can nurture peace in our lives and relationships," Wells said. "As you see the poles, may you be reminded to think, speak and act in ways that will allow peace to prevail in our community and spread throughout the world."

Wells added, "We don't have a specific goal for number of poles in Sherwood. It is an ongoing project and as requests come in from other organizations/businesses, we will provide additional poles for those locations."

For more information, call Wells at 503-522-1917.

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