There will be peace at the park, along with hope that it can spread from there.
The International Day of Peace will be observed on Sunday (Sept. 18) in Nanaimo with a peace party all day at Maffeo Sutton Park.
“It’s about getting along and co-operating and loving each other, and then we’ll have peace,” said Patricia Zogar, event organizer.
The day begins with a multi-faith peace service at the Lions Pavilion, with representation from Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Baha’i and Wiccan communities.
“We’re getting really good response from various faiths, so it will be truly inclusive…” Zogar said. “It will be up to them, five minutes or so, whether it’s a prayer or a message or a greeting from their own tradition.”
A peace walk through the park will follow; participants are encouraged to bring a banner or a sign.
Opening ceremonies including a First Nations blessing, candle lighting and a non-denominational peace song. Entertainment and activities will fill the rest of the afternoon, including a mass yoga class, a tai chi demo and musical acts including Jayden Holman. There will be face-painting and crafts for children.
Zogar said it’s worth celebrating peace, even in places in Nanaimo that are already relatively peaceful.
“Because it’s only when each of us finds peace within ourselves that we can extend that peace to others. When people are disenfranchised and struggling, that’s when violence and all those things arise,” she said. “[International Day of Peace] is partly an appreciation and gratitude for what we do enjoy and bring more focus back to that.”
The peace service starts at 10:30 a.m., the walk is at 11:30 a.m., opening ceremonies are at noon and entertainment begins at 12:30 p.m.
The International Day of Peace will be stretched over a few days, with a ceremony to raise the peace flag at city hall today (Sept. 14) at 2 p.m. and planting of a peace pole at Unity Spiritual Centre on Wednesday (Sept. 21) at 7 p.m.