Auguste 19, 2023
Peace Pole installed and dedicated at Mercer Island United Methodist Church
It’s not the first Peace Pole to be installed on Mercer Island, and hopefully it won’t be the last, Mercer Island United Methodist Church Pastor John Go proclaimed to the crowd on Aug. 19.
On that afternoon, about 35 people gathered to spread the message of “May Peace Prevail On Earth” at the installation and dedication ceremony as the approximately 6-foot-high pole officially became part of the church’s landscape and firmly stands in the garden. Bringing forth that vital message in eight languages, the pole is one of about 20 pillars for peace that are embedded on the Island.
The profound message is emblazoned on the Peace Pole in English, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Norwegian, Swahili, Hebrew and Lakota. Go noted that sign language was also represented at the installation event. Additionally, Go felt it was important that families from Fiji, China, Korea and Mexico imparted their message for peace in their native tongues in person at the event.
“I think that’s the most powerful message that we have. Just kind of sharing with the community,” he said.
Go said that the gathering is essential for community members to unite in person, which they thoroughly missed throughout the pandemic, and to support Ukrainians during their difficult times.
“We as a faith community, we wanted to invite the community on Mercer Island and just pray with us and wish for peace. In our local community, but also global community, especially,” Go said. “I think it’s a timely message that we wanted to share with the community.”
For his Eagle Scout project, Mercer Island High School (MIHS) rising senior Nathan Yang planned and designed the installation with the support of his fellow Eagle Scout Troop 647 members, according to a previous Reporter story.
After speaking to Go about needing peace in these times, Yang felt it was an amazing project, “Just because of all the recent events that happened with COVID, and anti-Asian hate and Ukraine and Russia, BLM, so I just thought it would be a great message and I could really install that in a nice public place for the community where everyone could walk up and see it,” he said.
When Yang spoke at the event, he felt inspired to share his message and reflect on the hard work that everyone put forth to bring the project to fruition.
The Peace Pole was commissioned in 2022 through a collaboration between the Cheryl Prophater-led MIHS baccalaureate and the Mercer Island Clergy Association, was unveiled during an interfaith baccalaureate celebration that year and then donated to the Mercer Island United Methodist Church.
Go feels that the event was made more special because of the inter-generational aspect that shone through on Aug. 19. Parents brought their young children to witness community support in action and high school students rose to the occasion to perform music and speak about what matters most to them and their fellow residents. Positivity flowed throughout the event; Go added.
In his message to the congregants at the event, Go praised Yang and the youth “who carry this important message to our homes, our schools, and our future of the world.”
Yang feels that people can collectively take a step toward world peace by recognizing “that we are more alike than different — we all have blood, we all have skin, no matter what color. I think sometimes we just have to separate our differences and come together for peace,” he said.
JAZZ FOR TINY HOMES
Members of the Mercer Island United Methodist Church presented the fundraising Jazz for Tiny Homes event on Aug. 22 at the church. The student-run concert raised about $5,300 for a project to help the homeless.
About 100 people attended the event, which featured MIHS students performing jazz music and an Eastside-based indie rock band unleashing its tunes in the Fellowship Hall. Grace Go and Ryan Hsi were the key event planners.
By Andy Nystrom • Mercer Island Reporter