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Peace bells to toll Wednesday

LIHU‘E — County Councilmember Felicia Cowden will not be participating in the ringing of bells for peace Wednesday starting at 9 a.m. at the Lihu‘e Hongwanji.

“I will be in a County Council meeting,” Cowden said to Helena Cooney of the East Kaua‘i Lions Club that is planning to join the Lihu‘e Hongwanji Mission in Kapaia to observe the International Day of Peace, a United Nations-sanctioned holiday observed on Sept. 21 after being established in 1981.

Spearheaded by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai‘i Peace Day program, the group invites everyone in the world to promote peace.

“We all take peace for granted,” said Rene Mansho, the chair for the Peace Day Committee at the Honpa Hongwanji. “But in today’s challenging world, we need to set examples and teach our future generations to promote peace.”

“On Sept. 21, be sure to join us for the grandest interfaith community event — the third year we celebrate ‘Ring Your Bell for Peace’ — where we are all logged onto Zoom, approximately 1,700 of us from all over the world. At 9 a.m., Bishop Eric Matsumoto will call for a moment of silence to honor those who sacrificed for us to achieve peace, then, he gives the countdown for all participants to ring their bells for peace for five minutes,” said Mansho.

Registration for the event that was learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is All participants will receive a link for the Zoom program, and also a link for the video of the entire program as a souvenir.

On Kaua‘i, the list of participating churches includes Kapa‘a Hongwanji Mission, Lihu‘e Hongwanji Mission, West Kaua‘i Hongwanji Mission, Kaua‘i Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji, All Saints Episcopal Church and Preschool, Kapa‘a United Church of Christ, Kapa‘a First Hawaiian Church, Immaculate Conception Church, and four classrooms at ‘Ele‘ele School.

Terri Mansfield, a member of St. Catherine Parish, invites people to bring peace messages and blessings to the Peace Pole anniversary blessings, starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday at the Peace Pole located on the campus of the St. Catherine Church in Kapa‘a.

According to information from Mansfield, following World War II in Japan, peacemaker Masahisa Goi set his intention for a phrase — May Peace Prevail on Earth — that would help to prevent future war and violence on Earth. Since then, hundreds of thousands of Peace Poles with this phrase in more than 1,000 languages are all over the planet, including several on Kaua‘i. Some of the Kaua‘i Peace Poles can be found at St. Catherine Church, dedicated in 2020, the Hindu Temple, Kaua‘i Community College, the Christ Memorial Episcopal Church in Kilauea and more.

“Thank you for your participation,” Mansfield said. “This iconic symbol of our community coming together in peace, nonviolence and love will help bring healing to everyone.”

Following the bell-ringing at the Kaua‘i Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji in Hanapepe, church officials in collaboration with ‘Ele‘ele School will decorate the the Peace Statue with paper cranes followed by a blessing at the statue at noon. The decorated Kannon Peace Statue will be available for viewing from Wednesday through Saturday until 8 p.m.

Starting at 9 a.m. and continuing throughout the day, The Storybook Theatre of Hawai‘i in Hanapepe will be featuring the “Warrior Poet” video on the late U.S. Sen. Spark Matsunaga, a Compassionate Communication Playshop led by Isa Marie, and the Voice Weavers Choir sharing expressions of peace.

The Storybook Theatre will collaborate with the Kaua‘i Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji Saturday in hosting a March for Peace from noon until 2 p.m., with expressions in song, dance, music, a student peace exhibit, messages of peace amidst food and game booths and the Bodhi Peace Tree at the temple.

The Saturday event concludes with a fire-burning ceremony.

Mansho said Hawai‘i was the first state in the nation to establish Sept. 21 as Peace Day, coinciding with the United Nations International Day of Peace.

“We owe great thanks to our Hawai‘i Federation of Junior Young Buddhists Association, who are responsible for bringing the resolution to the Legislature, where they passed the new law,” Mansho said.

“Kaimuki High School senior Jonathan Gates said, ‘In this tumultuous world today, the idea of peace seems far out of reach. Peace Day will help to open the doors to facilitate more cooperation in the name of peace education and outreach, which will benefit us all.’ What a wise high school student. And this was in 2007. I wonder where and what the 33-year-old Jonathan Gates is doing today, and does he realize the impact he made for peace?” Mansho asked.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or
Source: The Garden Island

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