Come together to support peace
A Peace Pole is a simple, hand-crafted monument that carries the message and prayer "May Peace Prevail on Earth" (a trademark of the Peace Pole Project) on each of its four or six sides, usually in different languages. Tens of thousands of Peace Poles have been dedicated in 180 countries. They serve as constant reminders for us to visualize and pray for world peace.
Some years ago, the Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater invited neighboring spiritual communities to join in the dedication of a Peace Pole on their grounds. Some time after that, the Unity Church of Clearwater invited all to a dedication of their new peace pole. The following September, Unity and the Unitarian Universalists joined in presenting the Dhamma Wheel Meditation Society with a Peace Pole of their own. The following September, several faith communities contributed to the purchase of a Peace Pole that was installed at Congregation Beth Shalom.
This month, we are delighted to say that other faith communities have joined with the congregation at St. John's Episcopal Church to purchase a new Peace Pole and will join in dedicating the site at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday — the International Day of Peace. All who feel supportive of this positive experience are welcome to be present with us in person or in spirit.
The spiritual leaders listed below are hereby acknowledged as working steadfastly to embody peace in our community through interfaith activities during the past several years. In the words of the Rev. Glad McCurtain, pastor of St. John's:
"I give thanks for all of you, who have been so instrumental in the building of healthy interfaith relationships in our general neighborhood. You broaden my understanding of how each of you, by your lives, foster peace. Yes, I would like to see this dedication as a spiritual response to any lamentable and violent intention to burn copies of the Koran. At St. John's, we have already been discussing the importance of embodying peace. Our baptism carries with it the promise that we will seek justice, promote peace and respect the dignity of every human being."
Leddy Hammock, senior minister, Unity Church of Clearwater; the Rev. Abhi Janamanchi, senior minister, Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater; Aziz Merchant, teacher, Oldsmar Ismaili Muslim Center; Bhante Dhammawansha, Dhamma Wheel Meditation Center; Pastor Glad McCurtain, St. John's Episcopal Church; Rabbi Daniel Treiser and Cantor Jennifer Duretz, Temple B'nai Israel; Rabbi Danielle Upbin-Weizman and Rabbi David Weizman, Congregation Beth Shalom; Rabbi Arthur Baseman, Reform Judaism (retired); Imam Wilmore Sadiki, St. Petersburg Mosque; Sister Kathleen Beatty, St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church; the Rev. Nicholas Ozuna, minister, Rissho Kosei-ka Buddhist Fellowship; Pastor John Harris, Hope Presbyterian Church; the Rev. Anton deWet, formerly of Faith United Church of Christ, Clearwater; Sister Shireen Brahmakumaris of Tampa
Mr. Countryside earned the honor
I was most delighted to see that Jim McLaughlin was named Mr. Countryside. Jim is a wonderful man who has worked tirelessly for the youth of Countryside since he first moved to Florida. He started when his sons were involved in sports and continued on long after they grew into adulthood. Jim is a fine example of a role model for others to emulate. My husband, Tom, and I were fortunate to have Jim in our three childrens' lives through sports, and his lovely wife, Harriet, in their lives as a teacher at St. Cecelia School.
Kathy Kelly, former mayor of Clearwater