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VIDEO: International Day of Peace activities planned in Nanaimo

Unity Spiritual Education Centre of Nanaimo planning public walk, labyrinth dedication Sept. 21-22

Unity Spiritual Education Centre of Nanaimo’s minister is hoping people will pause, ponder and pray at a newly constructed multi-faith labyrinth as part of International Day of Peace celebrations.

The United Nations declared Sept. 21 as International Peace Day in 1981, and while it has been a one-day event in Nanaimo in the past, Rev. Patricia Zogar said this year will see two days, with a chance to walk the labyrinth at the centre on 2325 East Wellington Rd. on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Labyrinths are found in many faith traditions, said Zogar, and it’s essentially a walking meditation and a place to become serene and reconnect.

Zogar said the deaths of two people provided the impetus for the labyrinth. She wanted to memorialize her daughter, who died amidst the fentanyl crisis, and also a leader and teacher at the centre who had loved labyrinths and had travelled around the globe visiting as many as possible.

The centre’s labyrinth is “unconventional,” according to Zogar, who said rather than being a conventional circle, it’s “rambling and fun.”

“Because we have ground that we can’t grow a lot in, we’ve got raised beds and we’re getting more and more big potted plants and things,” said Zogar. “We’re putting things of beauty and whimsy around, you’ll find some shells and little coloured rocks. On [Sept. 22] we’re going to give the children the opportunity to paint ‘peace rocks’ so they can put a picture or a peace word on it and plant it in our garden.”

There will still be a peace walk at Maffeo Sutton Park on Friday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. beginning at the flag poles, which the centre has sponsored for the past four years.

“It’s about a 30-minute, fairly gentle walk, just through downtown and back along the waterfront … everyone’s invited to bring their flags, their banners and T-shirts and uniforms and costumes and noise makers,” said Zogar. “This is not a protest march, I want to make that very clear, because in Unity we teach that what we focus on, we attract to us, so this is about raising consciousness of peace.”

The Saturday event begins at 10:30 a.m. and will feature yoga, children’s activities and music. Representatives of Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Wiccan, Baha’i, Taoism, Buddhism and Unitarianism faiths will offer blessings before the labyrinth is officially dedicated at 11:30 a.m.

The event is free and open to all.

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Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

After interning at Vancouver Metro free daily newspaper, I joined Black Press in 2010.
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