March 14, 2022
Chemainus residents stand in solidarity and peace for the people of Ukraine
Saturday vigil brings the community together with hopeful songs and poignant poems.
The rain didn’t deter about 40 people from gathering at the Peace Pole in Chemainus Saturday afternoon to stand in solidarity with the residents of Ukraine following the invasion of the country by Russia.
They learned a bit about the history of Peace Poles, including the background on the marble Peace Pole planted in Chemainus by Communities in Bloom back in 2007.
The Peace Pole was moved from its original location by the old fire hall (where the library now stands) and repositioned in the plaza in front of the Chemainus Valley Museum/Visitor Centre.
Inscribed on the Peace Pole are the words found on every Peace Pole worldwide, in a multitude of languages and in almost 200 countries: May Peace Prevail On Earth. The Chemainus Peace Pole also includes on the other three sides: May Peace Prevail in our Country; May Peace Prevail on our Island; May Peace Prevail in our Hearts.
“Many people commented afterwards that they were unaware of this Peace Pole in our own community and appreciated learning more about it,” noted Rev. Elise Feltrin of the Chemainus United Church, who conducted the ceremony.
She used the words from the Peace Pole as the theme for the gathering. After sharing the brief history of these monuments to peace that are now recognized worldwide, the Ukrainian national anthem was played. People listened to the haunting melody as they reflected on the carnage currently taking place in that country. The drizzle added to the sombre mood as words of poetry from contemporary Ukrainian poets were shared, reflecting on a soldier’s relationship with his gun (When You Clean Your Weapon by Borys Humenyuk) and what children will be told about the loss of their parents (The Ballad of Bawling Babies by Mekhala Saran).
A period of silent reflection was followed by John Lennon’s classic anti-war anthem Imagine and the ancient prayer of St. Francis of Assisi called Make Me An Instrument Of Your Peace.
Rev. Feltrin emphasized the need to come together in community to share our anxiety, fear and distress during times of global crises.
“By standing together with one another and with the people of the Ukraine, we recognize our common humanity, and live into the words inscribed on our Peace Pole: May peace prevail in our hearts,” she emphasized. “It may seem like a small gesture, but peace must start somewhere.”
The gathering ended with everyone singing together I’ve Got Peace Like a River in my Soul.
Credits: Excerpt from article in the Chemainus Valley Courier, Canada