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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Pinwheels for Peace

New York school advocates for nonviolence

Every fall, pinwheels pop up all over the garden at Leif Ericson Day School, Brooklyn, N.Y. They are planted as part of the ELCA -affiliated school’s observance of the International Day of Peace, established in 1981 by the U.N. General Assembly. In 2001 the U.N. designated Sept. 21 for the world to observe a day of peace and nonviolence.

Leif Ericson holds its observance on the nearest Wednesday to Sept. 21 to coincide with its regular worship services. The morning worship includes paper doves on the altar and prayers for peace, both created by students.

Students at Leif Ericson Day School,
Students at Leif Ericson Day School, Brooklyn, N.Y., participate in the Pinwheels for Peace project.
After worship, students new to the school add their thumbprints to peace poles. Built in 2005, the three poles—topped by streamers proclaiming “May peace prevail on earth” in 45 languages—now have more than 300 thumbprints.

Throughout the day teachers lead the students in activities to raise awareness of peace and nonviolence. Classes recite a “Pledge of Nonviolence,” and each student is sent home with an individual declaration of peace.

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