Sunday event at Peace Poles draws together six churches

Already visible in the community for its month-long 30 Days of Peace initiative held annually in the fall, the Alpena Peace Coalition hopes to keep peace in the public consciousness by hosting additional events throughout the year.

The coalition’s latest efforts, held in cooperation with the Alpena faith community, is called “The Way of the Cross Towards Peace and Justice.”

The event takes place this Sunday around Peace Poles erected at six area churches. Participants will travel from location to location, where in keeping with the coming of Easter, the Stations of the Cross will be recited.

“Instead of just one shot each year, the Alpena Peace Coalition wanted to carry the message of peace and justice to the community throughout the whole year,” said Carol Skiba, a driving force of the coalition. “The theme is on basic forgiveness and prayer for reconciliation.”

The Peace Poles are handcrafted, four-sided monuments that display the message of “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in four different languages on each side. Since there are 14 total Stations of the Cross, Skiba said several stations will be given at the various locations.

The recitation will be led by a different officiant at each pole, but the order of worship will be the same. Betsy Adamus will play the flute to the simple tune of “Jesus Remember Us” and reflections on the different Stations of the Cross will be shared. All will join in “A Prisoner’s Prayer,” which Skiba finds especially meaningful.

“This prayer was found scribbled on a piece of wrapping paper near the body of a dead child at Ravensbruck concentration camp,” she said.

Rev. Tom Orth, who will lead the stations recited at Grace Lutheran Church’s Peace Pole, said the event was planned around the pole in hopes of making more community residents aware of their existence and their strong message.

“The Stations of the Cross are a Lenten tradition coming from the Roman tradition,” Orth said. “We wanted to tie them in with the concepts of forgiveness and justice.”

Those choosing to join in the event should first meet at 2 p.m. at the Peace Pole at Alpena Community of Christ Church, located at 126 Clinton. Organizers are allowing for 20 minutes at each location, and participants will travel from church to church by car. The complete schedule is as follows:

  • 2 p.m. Alpena Community of Christ Church, 126 Clinton. Officiant is Pastor Jerry Villenecuve
  • 2:20 p.m. St. Paul Lutheran Church, 727 S. Second. Officiant is Rev. Shirley Ross Jones
  • 2:40 p.m. Grace Lutheran Church, 119 W. Dunbar. Officiant is Rev. Tom Orth
  • 3 p.m. Trinity Episcopal Church, 124 E. Washington. Officiant is Father Bruce Michaud
  • 3:20 p.m. First Congregational United Church of Christ, 201 S. Second. Officiant is Rev. Paul Lance
  • 3:40 p.m. St. Anne Catholic Parish, 817 Sable. Officiant is Sister Mary Hughes

The event is open to the public and all are welcome to participate, said Skiba and Orth.