Stoneygate Baptist Church marks World Peace Day

Stoneygate Baptist Church in Leicester has a long history of peace work, and origami cranes have long been used to symbolise a hope for peace, so to mark World Peace Day on 21 September, we filled our sanctuary with hundreds of cranes. They had been folded over several months by members of the congregation, families at our Messy Church, guests at our wellbeing cafe, friends from other churches, and residents at local care homes.

The installation was called Senbazuru, from the Japanese for one thousand cranes, and while we lost count somewhere along the way, we think we made it past eight hundred. It was hard to capture on camera, but the effect in the building was quite stunning, something we heard again and again from the more than one hundred people who came over the course of five events, including Messy Church and a cream tea. It was amazing to see what could be done with little more than a stack of paper and a lot of fishing wire!

It was always intended to be more than a visual display, and so the installation was accompanied by resources and activities to encourage visitors to reflect on and commit to the things that make for peace. Stones were placed on a world map to represent prayers for places of conflict, pledges to work for peace through everyday actions were added to our peace wall, and more cranes were folded to join the swoop.

Peace can only ever be a shared and ongoing effort, so it seems fitting that the installation was created by so many hands and grew over the course of the weekend. Together we created a vision of peace, and now our prayer is that this vision will fly like cranes out of the building, swooping over the world until God’s dream of peace on earth comes true. 

Photos by Leigh Greenwood and Marc the Photographer

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