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Our Peace Garden

One outstanding feature of St Ninian’s has always been the garden.  Today what remains is still well tended by the congregation – an oasis in what is now quite a built-up area and much appreciated by the local community. The most recent addition has been the Peace Garden at the centre of which is the Peace Pole. The Peace Garden was consecrated by the Bishop of Edinburgh, the Rt Revd Brian Smith on 23 June 2009.  It is hoped that this will become a place for quiet reflection for those who visit us.

The Peace Pole began as the idea of a Japanese man called Masahisa Goi. In 1955 he decided to dedicate the whole of his life to Peace as a response to the horrors of the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Today the Peace Pole is an internationally recognised symbol of the hopes and dreams of the whole human family, standing in silent vigil for peace on earth.

Each  Peace Pole bears the words May peace prevail on Earth on each of its four sides.  There are more than 250,000 Peace Poles in nearly every country in the world dedicated as monuments to peace. There is a Peace Pole in the foyer of the United Nations building in New York and in many other UN buildings too. In Iran just recently a woman called Roya  has organised a group of children to plant a Peace Pole and they are praying for peace in Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in their own country.

Masami Saionji, of the World Peace Prayer Society, says this in a letter to the world:  As we move forward into the 21st century we encourage all people to take a positive step towards universal understanding. Touch people with the message of love. Pray for the peace and happiness of people in all other lands and cultures. Make a commitment to world peace by honouring the earth, honouring its people, and celebrating the unity of the human spirit.

The idea of a Peace Pole had been under consideration for some time and Revd Andrew Bain asked Janet Hopkins the leader of the garden team to design the setting for the Peace garden. It was also hoped that children of Flora Stevenson Primary School might become involved.  At the service they read their prayers  in Gaelic, Russian, Spanish and Thai as well as in English. The message on our Peace Pole May Peace Prevail On Earth is in Japanese (because of the movement’s origins), English, and two of the mother languages most spoken by our local children, Polish and Mandarin Chinese.  Children from the school will continue help to care for a section of the Peace Garden

At the point in the service where we offered one another the sign of Peace, paper cranes were distributed.  The connection between paper cranes and peace can be traced back to a young girl named Sadako Sasaki who died of leukaemia ten years after the atomic bombing of Hirishoma. 

A prayer for the Peace Garden:
Jesus says: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be known as the Children of God.
Loving God, we give thanks for our Peace Pole, as a powerful symbol of peace and for our garden, consecrated by our Bishop, and set apart as a place of rest, reflection and joy for everyone in this community.  We thank you for our own garden team and for the children of our school whose labours and prayers have already made this a place of prayer and celebration.  Father, may we and all who visit and all who pass by offer heartfelt prayers for a world of peace where war is no more, and no-one is afraid.  So may your peace prevail on earth.  Amen