Grace Church has a Peace Pole. Have you ever noticed it or stopped to look at it? Perhaps not, since there are a number of peace poles around Traverse City. It’s located just left of the main front door.
The peace pole at Grace was a project begun by the EPF, specifically suggested by then members Ralph and Fern Orcutt, in 1984. Our Peace Pole at Grace was one of the earliest put up in the area. The three languages on the pole are Native American, Odawa/Ojibway, to honor those who were here before us, and continue to live here with us; Spanish, to honor the many migrant workers who make our agricultural bounty possible, and community members living here who are from a Spanish speaking county; and Russian, to honor the Russian Orthodox community members who used to worship at Grace, and those members who still live and worship in our area. The message on the pole is “May peace prevail on earth.” That is a message that we need yet today more than ever.
Initially, when the Peace Pole was erected, members of the EPF brought stones from the Lake Superior area of Michigan. The stones collected held a special meaning for them. They were placed around the base of the pole. Sadly, those stones were lost over time.
On the Grace Peace Pole there are names. Currently, the names on the pole are of members who have chaired the EPF. Also, this year we are adding the name of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship to acknowledge all the prior and current members of the Grace EPF, and to honor the National EPF, established in 1939.
The EPF is also starting a new tradition. We will take nominations annually for people to have their names added to our pole. We have developed criteria to use. We will ask for nominations for 2018 and include the criteria.
We invite you to take some time to have a close-up look at our Grace Peace Pole. It was refurbished this past year and new name plates were ordered. We have done our best to gather the correct historical remembrance.
We invite you to consider joining our group as we journey to promote peace and justice locally, nationally, and in the world. Feel free to come to a meeting to observe or participate. We meet on the second Tuesday of each month at 6 pm in Jubilee House. Meeting times may be confirmed by contacting Betsy Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 231-313-6013. You can explore the National EPF organization at epfnational.org.