Hope Interfaith Center Peace Pole Project

On Monday, September 7, 2015, the Hope Interfaith Center was featured in an article in the Mankato Free Press newspaper. We are extremely grateful for the exposure from the article for the peace pole project.

Interfaith center to plant peace pole in France

By Jessica Bies

Peace Pole at YWCAMANKATO — Every once in while Rev. Janice Gorman will visit one of several peace poles planted throughout Mankato by Hope Interfaith Center. “I do that because I believe there’s something happening in Mankato,” she said. “This seems to be a community that gets behind projects like this.”

Every time she sees one of the poles, “To tell you the truth, I become even more passionate about planting more poles. One institution, one person, one community can make a difference.”

Peace poles are monuments displaying the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth,” usually in a different language on each of four sides. Hope Interfaith Center has planted several of them, both locally and internationally, in Israel, Palestine, Turkey and Peru.

In Mankato and North Mankato, there are peace poles at the YWCA, Peace Park, South Central College, CADA and the First Congregational United Church of Christ, to name a few. There is also one in front of the Interfaith Center, given in memory of a member who died from cancer.

The next pole, to be the center’s 11th, will be planted in France. Later this year one will be planted at the Coffee Hag.

“This year, because it’s a local and international project, we’re going to plant two,” Gorman said.

Gorman will be leading 18 people on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France Oct. 14. She wants to plant a peace pole there because several journalists recently killed in an attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

“The local one is at the Coffee Hag because they’ve created such an environment of peace and inclusivity there,” she said.

The peace poles are meant to inspire people to think of peace, Gorman said, then act to create it.

“I don’t think peace is just simply the opposite of violence,” she said. “I believe peace is an action, even more than a feeling. It’s easy for people to have the fuzzy feeling of peace, that why I love the peace pole project. We’re not simply talking about peace, we’re acting it out.”

She hopes that residents will sometimes visit the local poles as she does, and think on peace.

“It’s my hope that people look at the peace poles and stop, even for a moment, and reflect,” she said. “The poles says ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth.’ To me, making that statement is a prayer. It’s a prayer: let peace prevail on Earth.”