Members of the community attend a Peace Prayer Gathering at the Peace Pole in Ute Indian Park in 2011. This year's Peace Gathering and Flags of All Nations ceremony will be Tuesday September 21 at noon. (Submitted photo/Peace Committee)

The community is invited to participate in the events of the 12th Annual Week of Unity and Peace, Sept. 17-24. Events are limited this year due to the increase in COVID cases.

“The Week of Unity and Peace is a time to come together and think about how we, as individuals, and as a community can create and practice more peace in our lives and in the world. There are so many challenges right now in everyone’s lives, that taking some time to contemplate peace could bring a change for the better,” explained Dr. Arlyn Macdonald, member of the Peace Committee.

Peace Week events include a kick-off Peace Program on Friday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. in the Chipeta Room at the Ute Indian Museum, sponsored by the Western Colorado Friends of the Himalayas.

The WCFH is a local nonprofit organization that supports peace locally and in the Himalayan region through emergency relief, education and cultural preservation.

Friday’s program features the presentation of the 2021 WCFH Peace Award to Danika Gilbert of Ridgway for her humanitarian efforts to help the young women of Afghanistan.

She is currently working to support and assist Afghan refugees in the U.K. and other countries whose families are still caught in the current crisis in Afghanistan.

“Danika deserves this Peace Award, not only for her current humanitarian work, but also for her work with veterans and women in mountaineering,” said Val Burnell, WCFH President.

The special program for the evening is a new slide-show presentation by Kelvin Kent, on “Nepal-Then and Now.”

Kent is a board member of the WCFH. He lived in Nepal and served with the Gurkhas. He also assisted several climbing expeditions in the Everest region. He is one of the recipients of the 2015 Peace Awards. The program is free to the public. There will also be a silent auction and refreshments.

On Tuesday, Sept. 21, the United Nations International Day of Peace, a Peace Prayer Gathering will be held at the Peace Pole in Ute Indian Park (across the street from the Museum), at noon.

A special Flags of All Nations ceremony will be part of this event. Bring your drum to accompany the prayers for peace.

The week’s events end on Thursday September 23 at 5:30 p.m. with a Community Peace Meditation along the Uncompahgre River at Riverbottom Park. Everyone is welcome to join this interfaith quiet meditation for peace. Bring your own chair.

“Families, churches and other groups are invited to talk about peace, pray for peace, and learn new ways to practice peace in thought, word, and deed during this peace week,” added Dr. Macdonald. “We appreciate our sponsors for this year’s Week of Unity and Peace: Ute Indian Museum, Western Colorado Friends of the Himalayas, and the Spiritual Awareness Center.”

For more information call 970-252-0908.

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