Today at noon there was a service in the Sutton Center to dedicate Wake Forest’s very own Peace Pole. Chaplain Tim Auman led a wonderful program for the community. Evidently there are over 200,000 Peace Poles in the world, in all (or nearly all) the countries of the world. The Peace Pole reminds us of the importance of peace, and our commitment to peace.
Wake Forest’s Peace Pole is special. It was made by our talented Facilities team using wood from reclaimed student residence hall furniture. I like to imagine that a former bed or desk of one of my academic advisees, or students I met at New Student Receptions or have come to know in other ways, is now part of the Peace Pole.
Wake’s Peace Pole says ‘May Peace Prevail On Earth’ in four of the world’s languages: English, Hebrew, Arabic, and Mandarin. Instead of being permanently planted in the ground, as is the custom, our Peace Pole is a “moveable feast” in the words of the Chaplain, and will be able to move to different buildings and campus spaces.
There were a number of speakers who talked about some of the various faiths of the world, or offered prayers, or spoke to parts of their Wake Forest experience. plus a phenomenal rendition of spoken word poetry called “Hashtag.” I wish I had videoed that. I had to leave quickly afterwards for my next meeting so I regret to say I don’t have the names of the speakers or the musicians.
At the end of the ceremony, the Chaplain asked us all to come forth and take one of the ribbons on the Peace Pole and stretch it out until it was taut. When all the ribbons were claimed, anyone without a ribbon was to put their hand on the shoulder of someone who had a ribbon. I snuck a little bit of video of that part.
Then to conclude, we were all asked to go to one of the tables in the corners of the room and pick up a mini replica of the WFU Peace Pole. But instead of just taking it home, we were asked to go to someone we did not know, and hand them our Peace Pole in exchange for theirs. Then repeat that two more times. I’m an introvert and normally that sort of thing makes me twitchy, but it is hard not to feel comfortable when Tim Auman is leading a program, and I met three new people who were all great. My little Peace Pole now has a place in my office facing outward so all can see it.
It was a lovely, lovely service. In case you want to watch, or your Deacs do, there is a video of the service online.