In celebration of the International Day of Peace, TRU’s Multi-Faith Chaplaincy held a Peace Day Picnic on Campus Green to encourage dialogue among the student body and foster reflection in light of the global celebration.
On Sept. 19, students gathered in front of Old Main to write short messages of what the word ‘peace’ meant to them and shared what they envisioned the future to look like if the virtue was universally employed.
Attendees were served cake, popcorn and sweet tea, as they crafted their unique messages and pinned them onto the prayer flag line that hung around the perimeter of the event.
Chaplains from the Multi-Faith Chaplaincy representing Christianity and Buddhism were also present at the event, helping students to craft their responses.
Narayan Mitra, TRU’s Baptist Chaplain from Kamloops Campus Ministries Society, said the purpose of the picnic was to get the student body thinking about peace in a time where unrest and conflict were unfolding all over the globe.
“We’re just trying to get a feeling from the students here what their view of peace is,” he said,
“This is the first time that we have attempted it and either it’s a statement from their own heart or some of the definitions of peace that we have in the jar.”
Ani Gawa Khandro, TRU’s GawaLing Buddhist, said she believed the peace picnic was an ideal way for students to “tune their minds to start thinking about peace.”
“We want people to be able to voice their ideas and their hopes about peace,” she stated,
“Saturday is the UN-declared International Day of Peace but students aren’t really usually around on Saturday, so we thought we’d share the event today.”
Khandro insisted that everybody should be “thinking about peace” and brainstorming ways they can “take action” to help bring it about.
When asked what peace meant to her she told The Omega: “For me, peace means the ability to be wherever you are in whatever is happening, with a heart that’s not aggressive or unkind, with a heart that’s just loving.”
Another chaplain, Reverend Jane Gingrich from the Hills of Peace Lutheran Church, added that the picnic was especially important to the Multi-Faith Chaplaincy because peace plays an “important” role in all religions.
“Peace is exhibited by working together and by recognizing that even though we have such grand diversity here at Thompson Rivers University, as multi-faith chaplains we represent a whole diversity of faith traditions,” she said.
Gingrich said she believed that an important part of “coming to peace” was acknowledging the “beauty and strength in diversity.”
“The only way that we can come to a place of peace is by working together, coming to understand each other (and) integrating our diversity…in the world,” she said, “So I think as multi-faith chaplains from a grand diversity of faith traditions, we are in some ways an image of what it can be to be people who are living out peace in the world.”
September 21st has been sanctioned by the United Nations as the International Day of Peace. The day is dedicated to the promotion of world peace and highlights the importance of a world without war or violence.