Peace Garden

The Southwark Peace Garden was created in the former Clubland ‘quad’, from a design by local students and opened on World Peace Day, 21st September 2018. It is a response to knife and violent crime in the local community, by creating a place of peace and a space for meeting that can be the focus of educational and creative projects by and for the young people who are most impacted by knife crime.

Since the Peace garden was opened, an olive tree has been added to the garden and a remarkable sculpture of a dove by the artist Graham Slade installed, fashioned from knives surrendered to the police.

At the dedication ceremony for the dove sculpture in January 2020, Rev David Markay offered the following words:
‘After much deliberation, the committee commissioned Graham Slade to sculpt this dove. An international symbol of peace, we know that it will mean different things to different people…

If this dove calls to mind for you a story of Noah and his family and animals on an ark, surrounded by angry waves, which subside, imagine his releasing a dove from the deck, and it returning with an olive branch in its mouth. May that story be, for you, a heavenly promise of peace after destruction.

If this dove calls to mind for you a story of Jesus wading into the River Jordan to be baptized, and the Spirit of God descending upon him like a dove, and a voice from heaven bellowing, with words meant for him, and for you: You are my Beloved.

If this dove is for you a symbol of the Spirit of God, may you experience the Spirit’s power to heal a wound, to change a heart – maybe your own – , embolden a community, transform the world.

Whatever your perspective, this dove is for you, and it may mean different things to you on different days:

In its sharp edges, acknowledge the pain you have experienced.
In its welding and soldering, remember things joined together again.
In its gentle span, find freedom.
In its knowing glance, know you are not alone.
In its vulnerability, learn to cherish each moment.
In its strength, rediscover your own.

And as you look at this dove…

If it is descending, may its approaching flutter catch your attention.
If, for you, it is ascending, let it lift your spirit.
If it is hovering, let it be an abiding, soothing presence.
If it perched, may it remind you of a holy accompaniment.
And in its permanence in this garden, may it bring you Peace.

Amen.’

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