Egg Harbor City will sponsor a weekend of peace Sept. 14-16.
The fifth annual event is held in honor of Peace Pilgrim, an internationally acclaimed peace activist who spent 27 years starting in 1953 crossing the country on foot to preach and promote peace. Peace Pilgrim's birthplace was Egg Harbor City.
Peace Pilgrim died in 1981 in a head-on vehicle collision on her way to present a peace talk in Indiana. She was well in her 70s at her time of death, but she never counted her years, said event organizer Nanette LoBiondo-Galloway. Peace Pilgrim believed people were as old as they felt. After her death she was cremated and her ashes were brought home to Egg Harbor City. They now rest in a family gravesite in Galloway Township.
"In my opinion, if Peace Pilgrim hadn't passed in a car crash, she would have walked another 27 years," LoBiondo-Galloway said.
Egg Harbor City's first peace weekend was held the year Peace Pilgrim would have been 100 years old. The event was so well received that the city decided to make it an annual. Egg Harbor City is recognized as an International City of Peace because of its support of Peace Pilgrim's teachings.
"The whole idea behind this year's celebration is that Peace Pilgrim believed that peace in the world would be possible if every man had inner peace," LoBiondo-Galloway said. "It's going to be three days of peace, love and music."
The three-day peace celebration will begin on the evening of Sept. 14 with a free all-level, multigenerational yoga session at 7 p.m., followed by a half-hour meditation session at the Egg Harbor City Community School, 730 Havana Ave.
The class will be taught by certified yoga instructors Stevee Simone Wolos, Ronnie Russo and Naida Burgess, and accompanying music will be provided by jazz guitarist Gina Roche.The meditation session will be led by Marcello Spinelli.
LoBiondo-Galloway, who has been practicing yoga for a few years, encourages all people, regardless of their age or level of fitness, to take advantage of this free opportunity. "Yoga has really help me get through a difficult time in my life. It's helped me to become more centered. That hour practice is like a mental vacation," she said. "You do as much as you can."
The weekend will resume in the morning Sept. 15 with a two-mile intergenerational walk for peace starting at Peace Pilgrim Park at 9 a.m. The walkers will travel to the Community School, where the Friends of Peace Pilgrim will plant a Peace Pilgrim Pole in the school's new community garden, then continue in meditative silence to Peace Pilgrim's childhood home and then back to the park.
At the park will be a community picnic, starting at noon, and everyone is asked to bring a covered dish (preferably vegetarian) to share. Peace Pilgrim was a vegetarian. Veggie burgers and hot dogs also will be for sale, LoBiondo-Galloway said.
The picnic also will include free crafts such as origami peace cranes and tissue paper doves and a community drum circle at 2 p.m. Bring your own drum.
Community members also will be invited to hang a peace wish on a tree dedicated to Peace Pilgrim. After the event, the peace wishes will be sealed in a vault and sent to Reykjavik, Iceland, where they will be incorporated into the Imagine Peace Tower, a memorial to John Lennon from his widow, Yoko Ono. The peace tower is a beam of light projected from a white stone monument that has the words "Imagine Peace" carved on it in 24 languages, LoBiondo-Galloway said. It resembles the twin towers beam that was sent into the sky after 9/11, she said.
The three-day event will culminate on Sept. 16 with a 10 a.m. all-faith spiritual service at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Jersey Shore, 75 South Pomona Road, Galloway Township.
Contact Elisa Lala:
If you go
What: Fifth annual Intergenerational Walk for Peace
When: Starts at 9 a.m. Sept. 15
Where: Peace Pilgrim Park, 500 block London Avenue, Egg Harbor City
Cost: Registration is $5. T-shirts are available for the first 100 walkers. Community and youth groups can register at no cost if they wear their own group T-shirts.
More info: For a registration form or more information, see peacepilgrim100.com or call 609-965-5681.