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Harford's first Peace Pole erected at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Churchville

Members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Harford County stand with a recently erected Peace Pole in front of the church on Route 22 in Churchville. Though more than 200,000 Peace Poles have been erected worldwide since 195r, this is believed to be the first one in Harford.
Members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Harford County stand with a recently erected Peace Pole in front of the church on Route 22 in Churchville. Though more than 200,000 Peace Poles have been erected worldwide since 195r, this is believed to be the first one in Harford. (Courtesy of UUFHC / Provided photo)

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Harford County has planted a Peace Pole near the entrance to their church on Route 22 in Churchville.

The Peace Pole, believed to the first of its kind in Harford County, was made possible through a generous donation from retired Homestead-Wakefield Elementary School teacher Leigh Brown Faunce, according to church officials.

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Faunce saw her first one at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis which sparked an idea she brought back after her visit there. She enlisted Rhoda Huston, Sara Morton, Beth Wood-Roig, her husband, Bill Faunce, and Rev. Lisa Ward to help in planning a special service, educational exhibits, an interactive activity and a ceremonial planting, the church said in a news release.

Diane Ditrick and her wife, Tammy Gappen, left Orlando for Bel Air in 2011, after spending 20 years in the Florida city. On Sunday, she was shocked to learn the Orlando gay club Pulse became the site of the nation's worst mass shooting.

"Peace is not a passive way of being, it is an active, mindful engagement with the blessings of life," former UUFHC minister Ward said in a statement. "The Peace Pole is a simple, elegant reminder of the willingness for peace, offering its prayer to all who might take up the endeavor."

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The Peace Pole may be viewed at UUFHC at 2515 Churchville Road in Churchville. The website is uufhc.net. The Rev. Carol Thomas Cissel is the church's interim minister.

Community and faith-based groups have been working for months to improve race relations in Harford County and the relationship between law enforcement and minority communities, and their representatives had an opportunity Thursday to express their concerns to top local law enforcement officials.

Peace Poles are products of an initiative inspired by Masahisa Goi in Japan in 1955, church officials explained. Goi felt that after the devastation of World War II the world needed to work toward peace. He was the founder of the World Peace Prayer Society, a non-profit, non-sectarian NGO at the United Nations which is dedicated to uniting people across the globe through the universal prayer, "May Peace Prevail on Earth."

To date, more than 200,000 Peace Poles have been planted in more than 190 countries. This one has the message "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in 12 different languages, church officials said.

The wooden silhouettes that represent real victims of domestic murder in Harford County will be unveiled Sunday.

Peace Poles can be found in a variety of places, including town squares, schools and places of worship and some of the extraordinary locations include the Pyramid of El Giza in Egypt, the Magnetic Pole in Canada, Gorky Park in Russia, Sarajevo and the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima. Both political leaders, such as former President Jimmy Carter, and religious leaders, such as Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa and the Dali Lama, have dedicated Peace Poles.

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