MARCH 19, 2014 – WASHINGTON – Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice (EAD) is pleased to announce that one thousand brightly colored origami cranes will hang over the plenary stage and front alter during its 12th annual national gathering entitled, Jesus Weeps: Resisting Violence, Building Peace.
The gathering of nearly 1,000 Christian advocates begins Friday, March 21 at the DoubleTree Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, VA with an Opening Celebration, worship, policy plenaries and over fifty planed weekend workshops. The national event concludes Monday, March 24th with a Congressional Lobby Day on Capitol Hill where participants will take a Peace Crane to their members of Congress as part of a “Leave Behind” and prayer that asks: “Our Nation can and must do more to nurture a culture of peace. We ask for national policies that reduce acquisition and use of guns for purposes that cause harm, and Rebalance funding priorities away from out-sized military spending to focus more resources on preventing violence and enhancing human security.”
In addition to the Peace Cranes that will “soar over plenary and worship,” participants will be encouraged to add to the number by making cranes during the event as part of a meditation ritual that is being planned. “We hope to have 1,000 cranes added to the alter display by the end of the gathering that will contribute to the over all art and worship experience,” said Douglas Grace, Director of EAD.
The Peace Crane has become an international symbol of peace, inspired by the story of a young Japanese girl, Sadako Sasaki, who was born in Hiroshima and was two years old when the atom bomb was dropped there on August 6, 1945. Nine years later, she was diagnosed with “the atom bomb” disease, Leukemia, from which she died at age 12.
But before she died, Sadako made 1,000 origami cranes in pursuit of a wish for life and peace in line with an ancient Japanese belief. Her valiant struggle has inspired people around the world to pick up her art and use it to promote peace.
An ecumenical dedication of the peace cranes at EAD will occur during the Sunday, March 23rd dinner banquet — the eve of the gathering’s Congressional Lobby Day. The Rev. Jim Wallis, Executive Director of Sojourners and a sponsor of EAD, will follow with a “Call to Action and Benediction” as participants gear-up to meet with their members of Congress the next morning.
A Wish for World Peace
In making her cranes, Sadako declared her wish for world peace: “I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world.” Her classmates came up with the idea of building a monument to Sadako and all the children killed by the atom bomb.
Young people all over Japan helped collect money for the project. In 1958, a statue of Sadako holding a golden crane was unveiled in Hiroshima Peace Park.
A wish from the children is inscribed at the bottom of the statue: “This is our cry, This is our prayer, Peace in the world.”