PT Quaker congregation erects multilingual monument to unity, love

Luciano Marano
lmarano@ptleader.com
Posted 9/15/20

On the subject of peace, the Quakers are standing firm.

And so is their pole.

The message is clear, no matter where you’re from, as the new Peace Pole that stands outside the meeting …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

PT Quaker congregation erects multilingual monument to unity, love

Posted

On the subject of peace, the Quakers are standing firm.

And so is their pole.

The message is clear, no matter where you’re from, as the new Peace Pole that stands outside the meeting house of the Port Townsend Friends Meeting, a local congregation of the Religious Society of Friends, also called Quakers, is about 20 feet tall and calls for world peace in more than a dozen languages. 

It was, according to congregant Caroline Wildflower, a labor of love led primarily by Jeff Johnson and Doug Milholland. 

Johnson, a carpenter and member of the congregation, recently left Port Townsend for Seattle, Wildflower said, though he was pivotal in seeing the long-discussed project finally come to fruition.

“Kind of his last gift to us was to design this Peace Pole and make it happen,” she said. “And I feel honored that I got to participate in most of the phases of the Peace Pole.” 

Wildflower said Johnson, along with Milholland, also a carpenter, did most of the work of felling the chosen tree and preparing the wood.

“I contacted them and said I want to work on it, definitely,” Wildflower recalled. She was especially adamant about ensuring one particular message was etched correctly. Having lived in Japan at one time, and being somewhat skilled in calligraphy, Wildflower came prepared to write “peace” in Japanese characters. 

“I sketched it out,” she said. “I’m not fluent, but I wanted that right on that pole and I wanted it on that pole.” 

“I wanted to be sure to have Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew,” she added. The pole also includes three indigenous languages as well, along with many others. 

According to Worldpeace.org, “Planting a Peace Pole is a way of bringing people together to inspire, awaken and uplift the human consciousness the world over ... Peace Poles are now recognized as the most prominent international symbol and monument to peace. They remind us to think, speak and act in the spirit of peace and harmony.”

Wildflower said the PT Quakers hope their pole does exactly that. 

It has already inspired a bit of neighborly assistance, at least.  

During the pole’s placement and raising — on Aug. 7, between the anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — Wildflower recalled the small, struggling crew of congregants was suddenly aided by an unexpected Samaritan. 

“This guy is driving by on the street and he sees us ... hops out of his car and says, ‘Do you need any help?’” she laughed. “He stayed and helped for like an hour or more through this whole process. He said, ‘I’m a stonemason.’ It’s the kind of town we live in.” 

Still to come, Wildflower said, is additional landscaping around the pole, which sits in the meeting house’s small garden, and also a decorative topper: a carved dove, perhaps the ultimate symbol of peace. 

The meeting house is located at 1841 Sheridan St. in Port Townsend. Visit www.ptquaker.org to learn more about the congregation. 

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment