GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) — Generally speaking, poles stand as markers for distinct geographical points.
A pole close to the heart of Sussex County isn’t geographical but serves as a reminder of humankind’s long-held hope for a peaceful world.
The Georgetown Peace Pole stands outside Georgetown Presbyterian Church on North Bedford Street, the spot where marchers assembled last year and walked several blocks to The Circle to call for a commitment to peace.
The march was sponsored by Peace Week Delaware. The peace pole was a gift to Georgetown Presbyterian from Malcolm Goekler, chairperson of the Unitarian Universalist Peace Ministry Network and a member of the Peace Week planning group.
The pole is made of white metal and stands approximately 8 feet high. On each of its four sides, the phrase “Let Peace Prevail” is written in different languages chosen by the Georgetown congregation: English, Spanish, Urdu and Haitian Creole.
There are now four poles in Sussex County, with a fifth one to be installed at Seaford’s Mount Calvary AME Church during Peace Week 2020 next month.
The other peace poles in Sussex County are at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Lewes, at Universal Unitarian Church on U.S. 9 near Lewes and at Camp Rehoboth.
Wherever they are found, their meaning and purpose are the same: They stand as silent witnesses to the universal desire for peace and harmony.
“It’s kind of nice because it’s a permanent thing, and as it says, it’s a silent witness,” said Battle Robinson, Georgetown Presbyterian Church public relations spokeswoman. “I’ve learned an awful lot about peace poles. I have the eye for them anywhere I go now. Actually, as I read about them, I found that a lot of artists make these, so they are very creative.”
Each year, the Peace Week organization in Delaware arranges a series of seminars and programs promoting understanding among people.
Peace Week 2020 is scheduled for Oct. 3-11. Due to restrictions and health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic, for the first time, Peace Week will be virtual. There are more than 100 presentations that are easily available over the internet. They range from a movie about the late John Lewis to a session on staying calm amid chaos.
An in-person march and gathering at The Circle is scheduled for Oct. 11 at 2:30 p.m.
A complete listing of the programs and information about Peace Week can be found at peaceweekdelaware.org.
Peace poles are found all over the world. They were initiated in 1955 in Japan by Masakisa Goi, an activist who thought this initiative would help promote peace and understanding among the people of the world.
Her initiative and movement spread, and peace poles, which have a variety of designs, are sponsored by numerous organizations and individuals and can be found in different locations, including parks and churches, as well as at sites of destruction and tragedies.