Monday, December 23, 2002

Quilting for Peace

A Mennonite congregation in Salford, PA (between Norristown and Quakertown), is stitching a pair of peace quilts: one for Saddam Hussein, the other for our current president.

"I thought about how Saddam Hussein and George Bush both go to bed at night," Pfister said.

"I wondered what they think about when they pull the covers up and begin to drift off. Do they think about how they're affecting the lives of people around the world?... Are they thinking about killing each other?"

That's when he got the idea for the peace quilts the men and women and children of Salford Mennonite Church have been working on ever since.

The ones they hope to somehow get to Hussein in Iraq and Bush in Washington.

Maybe — just maybe — something in the design, with its dove of peace perched in the tree of life, would move the two men.

Or something in the message on the back: "... each stitch represents our individual and collective fervent prayers for peace."

Or perhaps just the fact that so many people (about 400) cared enough to participate.

Each quilt is almost a mirror image. When they are placed side by side, the tree branches seem to intertwine. The two doves face each other, eye to eye.

Naive? Unworldly? Sure. But powerful. I don't think a peace quilt can fix the world, but symbols can gather power, can begin to help and heal. Then there's the change in the lives of the people who make the quilts. Focusing your attention and prayer changes you, yourself, and doing it in community can build strong bonds.

We have to start somewhere.

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