Youth Ministry’s Pinwheels for Peace, Jennifer Llamas, Youth and Family Ministry Director
As students of Unity, we are blessed with five guiding principles, one of which (Principle 3) speaks to our ability to co-create our life experience along with the spark of Divinity that flows through us.
It seems that each week, we are bombarded with images in the news that give importance to conflict and war. Scenes of violence have become commonplace and almost accepted as part of our society, and for some, conflict is a way of life. It is our hope that through the Pinwheels for Peace project, we can make a public visual statement regarding our feelings about peace/ tolerance/ cooperation/ harmony/unity and share our thoughts and hearts filled with peace.
A pinwheel is a childhood symbol – it reminds us of a time when things were simple, joyful, peaceful. A pinwheel is easily made using just about any type of material, from copy paper, to thin plastic, to lightweight metal. The stick of the pinwheel can be as simple as a pencil or as intricate as a carved stick or metal rod. Pinwheels can be made as small as one inch in diameter or as large as desired – limited only by the creator’s materials and motivation. Pinwheels can be minimal or very complex – imagination, creativity (and a mild breeze) are the only variables needed.
During the month of September in Youth Ministry, we will be creating pinwheels, and as part of the creation process, we will write our thoughts about “peace / tolerance/ living in harmony with others” on one side of the pinwheel, and on the other side, use markers, crayons, colored pencils etc. to visually express our feelings. We will work on making pinwheels on Sunday, Sept 1 & 15, and then “plant” the pinwheels outside of our sanctuary on September 22 as we celebrate International Day of Peace! The spinning of the pinwheels in the wind will spread thoughts and feelings about peace throughout the church, the country, and the world!
Pinwheels for Peace is an art installation project started in 2005 by Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan, who were art teachers at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek, Florida, as a way for their students to express their feelings about what’s going on in the world and in their lives. The project was quickly embraced by their students and the entire school community and by millions of art teachers, teachers, parents, children and adults who desire peace in our world.
The first Pinwheels for Peace were installed on Sept. 21, 2005. Since then, it has grown from 500,000 pinwheels planted the first year, to four million pinwheels in 2018!
International Day of Peace is celebrated each year on September 21. We will add our energy to this year’s “whirled peace!”