Churches plant pole for peace

A peace pole with a white dove perched on top stood on the front lawn of Crescenta Valley United Methodist Church on Sunday as dozens of parishioners gathered to pray and dedicate the symbol of unity.

Joining the Methodist church were members from the Korean congregation of the Hansarang United Methodist Church and parishioners from Christ Armenian Church.

“We wanted to have this symbolic pole,” said the Rev. Hendrik Shanazari of Christ Armenian Church. “It's a peace pole. We don't just preach it, but we practice it.”

The pole had “May Peace Prevail on Earth” written on the sides in English, Korean, Armenian and Spanish.

The pole dedication was a collaborative effort of the three congregations, said Pastor Paige Eaves of the Crescenta Valley United Methodist Church.

“We said let's make a public prayer for peace,” Eaves said. “We want to show our community that Jesus Christ stands for peace.”

During the dedication ceremony, the three clergy members took turns saying a prayer in their respective languages.

“May the Christ rise and bring new hope to our people and the whole world,” the Rev. Tae K. Kim said in Korean. Kim translated the prayer into English afterward.

At the end of the ceremony, a series of doves waiting in wicker boxes were released. The crowd cheered as the birds flew into the sky.

Among those in attendance were La Crescenta resident Peggy Griffin and her 18-year-old daughter, Kelsey.

“This world has got to unite,” Peggy Griffin said. “We've got to unite as one people.”

Michael Crosby of La Crescenta, a member of the Crescenta Valley United Methodist Church, also liked what he saw.

“It's beautiful,” he said of the pole. “It's nice that we have the different languages on it. We wish someday there will be peace on Earth.”

It took about six weeks for the pole to be completed and erected, Eaves said.

Artist Jeanne Lavieri designed and painted the wooden pole, which includes designs such as green mountains and hills and a blue sky that represent harmony, she said.

“I think prayers can be more than words,” said Lavieri, a La Crescenta resident. “They can be pictures and objects.”

For Lavieri, the pole is much more than a symbol of peace.

“It's meant to transcend politics, to rise above it and be something that represents the future of our children.”

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