House of Commons recognition for peace project

A community project that promotes peace and harmony across the world has been recognised in the House of Commons.

MPs have signed an Early Day motion congratulating Duddingston Kirk Glebe in Edinburgh for opening a beautiful, 100ft long pebble mosaic Path of Peace.

Rev Jim jack
Walking the Path of Peace - Duddingston Kirk minister Rev Jim Jack and Tommy Sheppard, MP for Edinburgh East.

It acknowledges that it was created “with the help of talented pupils from Duddingston and Parsons Green primary schools to encourage people to advocate for world peace as they walk through the church garden”.

It pays “tribute to the hard work of volunteers to create a lasting legacy with a positive message for humankind at a time when a rhetoric of hate is increasing across the world”.

The Early Day motion was lodged by Tommy Sheppard, MP for Edinburgh East, who officially opened the Path of Peace in April.

Inspiring

It took 12 months to create and was funded by a £6,700 National Lottery Awards for All grant.

The path features tens of thousands of colourful stones, sourced from Scottish quarries and from as far afield as Japan.

Pupils made 80 tiles for the project.

They are decorated with peace symbols such as doves, hearts and the CND logo which represents nuclear disarmament.

Parsons Green Primary School pupils crouching by the tile they made
Bill Holden, 6, and Daniel Creelie, 11, from Parsons Green Primary School crouching by the tile they made

Project manager, Lizz Spence, said the path was a labour of love for children who were in P5-6 and P1 classes last session and around 20 volunteers who created it.

“Three years ago you couldn’t have navigated the route of the Peace Path without the help of a machete and a forest ranger, such was the jungle of brambles and nettles,” she said.

“Now lots people are walking along the path, admiring the work of the children, and seeing the glebe with fresh eyes.

“Having had Tommy along to officially open the path and to acknowledge the huge amount of work it took to build it has been a great encouragement.

Tragedy

“His Early Day motion to set the path in the context of people working towards peace in the world helps everyone who works here feel part of a much bigger movement.”

A metal sculpture of a Galloway Vine adorns the wall next to the path and people can engrave the name of a loved one on a copper leaf and hang it on one of the 170 pegs.

Space has been created at the base of the artwork for the internment of ashes and people are invited to lay cut flowers and sit quietly on a bench to reflect.

Children from the two schools were the first to walk along it and all those in attendance were invited to commit themselves to live in peace and remember those affected by recent tragic events in Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Northern Ireland.

Rev Jim Jack
Tommy Sheppard, Rev Jim Jack and Lizz Spence

The Early Day motion also recognises that Rev Dr Liam Fraser, campus minister at the University of Edinburgh, started an online campaign to raise funds for people affected by the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka.

It also acknowledged that churches across the UK displayed white ribbons in a show of solidarity with Christians in Sri Lanka.

The fundraising campaign generated a total of more than £5,200 with money also coming from individuals and congregations.

Destruction

Dr Fraser said: “I am very happy that the Church of Scotland has been able to give a small gesture of practical support to those caught up in the terrible attacks of Easter Sunday and that our brothers and sisters know that the world Church cares about them.”

“The money will be going to Zion Church in Batticaloa, which being an independent church, did not have the same international support as the Roman Catholic Churches in Sri Lanka had.

“The majority of it is going toward those whose livelihoods were taken away when their mopeds and motorcycles - used for couriering etc - were destroyed in the blast.

“St Andrew’s Kirk in Colombo has been working with Zion Church on the ground and making sure the funds go to those affected.”